Surviving Theresienstadt

A Teenager's Memoir of the Holocaust


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About the Book

After the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, Vera Schiff and her family were sent to Theresienstadt. Touted as the “model ghetto” for propaganda purposes, as well as to deceive Red Cross inspectors, it was in fact a holding camp for famous Jews—in case the world was to inquire. For most, however, it was the last stop on the way to the gas chambers. Those “lucky” enough to remain alive faced slave labor, starvation and disease.

Shiff’s intimate narrative of endurance recounts her and her family’s three years in Theresienstadt, the challenges of life under postwar communism, and her escape to the nascent and turbulent state of Israel.

About the Author(s)

Vera Schiff is a Holocaust survivor, educator and award winning author living in Toronto, Canada. In 2012 she received an honorary doctorate of Letters from the University of New Brunswick for her contributions to the field. In 2020 she was awarded the Order of Canada for her illustrious career as an author, historian and public speaker who is nationally recognized for sharing her moving experiences of the Holocaust.

Cheryl A. Fury is a professor of European history at the University of New Brunswick (Saint John) in Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Vera Schiff
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 267
Bibliographic Info: 34 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8555-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4330-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. Beginning 5

2. Time Is Running Out 20

3. German Invasion and Occupation 28

4. Our Struggle for Survival 52

5. Trapped 62

6. The Fatal Blow 84

7. The Loss of Dr. Tarjan 95

8. From Bad to Worse 109

9. The Incredible Selection 123

10. Beautification—The Great Charade 141

11. Theresienstadt in Its Death Throes 152

12. Liberation 172

13. Prague—1945 177

14. How Did It Happen and How to Go on from Here? 196

15. On the Road to Recovery 206

16. Takeover by the Red Dictatorship 221

17. Departure from Europe 235

Epilogue 244

Final Postscript—2021 256

Index 257

Book Reviews & Awards

From the first edition: Winner, Elie Wiesel Prize in Holocaust Memoir—The Canadian Jewish Book Awards