Check out the Photo Galleries: 1, 2, 3
DAY FIVE ~ interviewed Leonore Thielmann, an artist in her home/studio • April 7, 2008
DAY THREE ~ from Usti nad Labem to Decin
• April 5, 2008
From Usti nad Labem to Decin, 20+km Villages, churches and crosses on mountain tops distinguished the spring scenery we saw today. At times we walked wedged between the river and the railway. We gravitated to scenes that reminded me of my oma: the dilapidated train station with its sad transport car and the concrete bunkers that arose regularly out of the underbrush.
DAY TWO ~ from Verne to Usti nad Labem
• April 4, 2008
The second day proved to us that even in the midst of inspiring mountains and escarpments, centuries of the Labe had kindly provided an even flood plain not just for us and the river but, also for oma. It was a relief to know that even though the way to Hamburg is long, nature had made it possible for oma to make her way home on foot.
DAY ONE ~ Terezin to a train station on desolation row called Verne Zernoseky
• April 3, 2008
The first day was a very emotional one as we were right in the ghetto where my grandmother had been kept for 17 months. We were barely underway on the Ohre River when we came across a memorial on the very spot where the Nazis tossed the ashes of 22,000 human individuals near the end of the war. All this stood in juxtaposition to bird song, a grouse bursting from green underbrush, a river meandering by and sunshine.
The following is the first excerpt from a 36 page handwritten document written by my grandmother Anna Skrainka Schilling. She called the document My Life in Music because of the very important role music played in her life. My brother Dr F. M. Eggert has transcribed the handwriting and I've translated (with his help).
Since I am a Jew when the whole devilment of the Hitler era began, music was out of the question. A long, overwhelming silence intruded into my life; none of the beauty of music remained as solace. Only in Theresienstadt, in a concentration camp, did music begin to heal these wounds. Music helped me find the will to help others and to overcome the wretched conditions of that horrific camp.
In Theresien courageous people found one another—those who would not succumb to the horrific conditions and who would not let go of the goodness in their souls. There were concerts whose musical offerings were faultless. It didn’t matter where they occurred. Sometimes they were in the stables, sometimes in a large barracks.