Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The Diary of Petr Ginz - Places of Petr Ginz. The Occupation.
Petr Ginz was a boy in Prague during the German occupation. He kept a diary, now published in English in 2007 as "The Diary of Petr Ginz 1941-42." Locations that Petr Ginz names, or where he went, are laid out now in photographs and comments at a Europe Road Ways companion blog, Places of Petr Ginz.
The places include references to Prague, where the family lived; Plzen, nearby, where there is a great synagogue; Hradec Kralove, his Christian mother's home town -here is a picture of some Renaissance sgraffito * on the side of a building in Hradec Kralove; and the Sudetenland, on the German border, where others were from.
Petr was sent at 14, the age when Mischling children were to be separated from their families, to the ghetto created at the old garrison town of Theresienstadt (Terezin); and ultimately to Auschwitz, at the town of Osweicim (Auschwitz), Poland, where he was killed.
The war references are poignant, yet matter-of-fact. See Places of Petr Ginz, Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich at St. Cyril's Church. Also see the 1975-76 film, "Operation Daybreak," for views of Prague itself, and a tragic, courageous war story of the Czech Resistance and the assassination.
The diary was discovered in 1993 in the Jewish museum in Jerusalem, along with some of his drawings and science fiction and other writings. It is edited by his sister, Chava Pressburger, who adds an introduction and parts of her own diary; and translated by Elena Lappin, Atlantic Monthly Press NY 2007. Meet Ms. Pressburger at www.radio.cz/en/article/63435.
Petr is a child of a mixed Jewish-Aryan marriage, called a Mischling by the Nuremberg laws of the German occupation in WWII. See www.owlnet.rice.edu/~rar4619/nuremburg.html.
A "Mischling" could be designated in various degrees from pure Aryan. See www.holocaust-history.org/short-essays/nuremberg-laws.shtml. The concept was "mongrel," as seen when you do an Images search for Mischling. All dogs on the first page, except for a copy of a Nazi certificate for Mischling I.
The panorama of his short life ended at his age 16 in Auschwitz, a concentration camp that also had held Anne Frank for a time, I understand, before she was sent to her death at another camp, Bergen Belsen, not far away.
* Sgraffito - a building decoration technique, layers of colored material, then scrape off top layers in drawing or other patterns. Scroll down this photo website and see the sgraffito - //richard-seaman.com/Travel/CzechRepublic/Highlights/index.