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Program

21 Jun 2007 00:00 - 00:00

The Diary of Petr Ginz

Atlantic Books and Czech Centre London have the pleasure of inviting you to the book launch of The Diary of Petr Ginz with Chava Pressburger (Eva Ginz, Theresienstadt survivor)

 

Thursday 21 June 2007

6.30 for 7pm

 

The Diary of Petr Ginz is a poignant and powerful account of everyday life in Prague from September 1941 till October 1942, written by 14 year old Jewish boy Petr before he is sent to Theresienstadt.

 

Translator Elena Lappin and Chava Pressburger, Petr’s sister, will read from the book and reveal the amazing story behind its discovery.

 

Petr Ginz, Moon landscape

 

Not since Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl has such an intimately candid, deeply affecting account of a childhood compromised by Nazi tyranny come to light. As a fourteen-year-old Jewish boy living in Prague in the early 1940s, Petr Ginz dutifully kept a diary that captured the increasingly precarious texture of daily life. Petr was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz at the age of sixteen, and his diaries – recently discovered in a Prague attic under extraordinary circumstances – now read as the prescient eyewitness account of a meticulous observer.

 

Petr was a young prodigy, a budding artist and writer whose paintings, drawings and writings reflect his insatiable appetite for learning and experience. He records the grim facts of his everyday life with a child’s keen eye for the absurd and the tragic. When Jews are forced to identify themselves with the yellow star of David, he writes, ‘On the way to school I counted sixty-nine “sheriffs”’ – and throughout, his youthful sense of mischief never dims. In the space of a few pages, Petr muses on the prank he plays on his science class and reveals that his cousins have been called to turn over all their furniture and belongings, having been summoned east in the next transport.

 

The diary ends with Petr’s own summons to Theresienstadt, where he would become the driving force behind the secret newspaper, Vedem (‘We Lead’), and where he would continue to draw, paint, write and read, furiously educating himself for a future he would never see. Fortunately, Petr’s voice lives on. The Diary of Petr Ginz is an invaluable historical document and a testament to one remarkable child’s hunger for life.

 

***

 

Petr Ginz was killed in 1944, aged sixteen.

 

His sister, Chava Pressburger, who introduces the published diary, now lives in Israel.

 

Elena Lappin is a writer and editor living in London. She is the author of Foreign Brides and The Nose.

 

 

Petr Ginz, Prague

 

 

How the diary was discovered

 

Interview with Chava Pressburger

 

From US coverage (April 2007): International Herald Tribune, New York Times

 

***

 

Edited by Chava Pressburger

Translated by Elena Lappin

and with a foreword by Jonathan Safran Foer

 

Published by Atlantic Books on 21 June 2007

hardback £16.99, 192 pp, full colour illustrations

isbn: 978 1 84354 553 8

 

 

Petr Ginz, Theresienstadt

 

 

Free event, booking necessary on 020 73075180 or via email to storchova@ czechcentre.org.uk

 

Part of a celebration of Jewish culture in Theresienstadt organised by the Czech Centre.

 

Supported by the Czech Embassy in London

 

Venue:

30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom

Date

21 Jun 2007 00:00 - 00:00

Organizer:

Czech Centre, Atlantic Books


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