From 1942 to 1944, a group of 13-15 year old Jewish boys secretly produced a weekly magazine called Vedem (In the Lead) at the model concentration camp, Theresienstadt ("Terezin" in Czech). The writers, artists, and editors put together the issues and copied them by hand behind the blackout shades of their cellblock, which they affectionately called the "Republic of Shkid." The material was saved by one of a handful of boys who survived the Holocaust, but it was suppressed for fifty years in Czechoslovakia. Now, for the first time, these works are being published simultaneously in English, Czech and German. Vedem is a poignant glimpse at the world of boys torn from their comfortable childhoods, separated from their families, ultimately to perish in the Nazi death machine. Terezin survivor George Brady recalls: "In the tragic struggle for survival, the Nazi-imposed Terezin 'self-administration' tried to help the imprisoned children. They were placed in buildings where living conditions were better than in the many barracks that were inside the fortress...I was one of these children. And by pure luck I found myself among the boys who were led by Valtr Eisinger. In a small room overcrowded with three-tired bunks, he created a new, fascinating world for us behind the ghetto walls. The boys developed talents they never dreamed they had, and it was there too that the illegal children's magazine on which this book is based was founded. About one hundred boys passed gradually through Eisinger's group, but only fifteen of them lived to see the liberation. One of them is Zdenek Taussig, who rescued the magazine in Terezin and now lives in the United States. Taussig handed the magazine to me in Prague in 1945, and before I emigrated to Canada I passed it on to Kurt Kotouc. The editorship was assumed by Kurt Kotouc and Zdenek Ornest, both of whom had taken part in the creation of the original magazine in Terezin. They were joined by Marie Rut Krizkova."
by Marie Rut Krizkova, Kurt Jiri Kotouc and Zdenek Ornest
Translated by R. Elizabeth Novak