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Book Discussion: “The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt”
with Dr. Josh Andy
Tuesday, April 12, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
This program is geared for educators, but open to all.
(Act 48 credit hours or a letter of participation is available upon request.)
About The Book
Terezín, as it was known in Czech, or Theresienstadt as it was known in German, was operated by the Nazis between November 1941 and May 1945 as a transit ghetto for Central and Western European Jews before their deportation for murder in the East. Terezín was the last ghetto to be liberated, one day after the end of World War II.
The Last Ghetto is the ﬁrst in-depth analytical history of a prison society during the Holocaust. Rather than depict the prison society which existed within the ghetto as an exceptional one, unique in kind and not understandable by normal analytical methods, Anna Hájková argues that such prison societies that developed during the Holocaust are best understood as simply other instances of the societies human beings create under normal circumstances. Challenging conventional claims of Holocaust exceptionalism, Hájková insists instead that we ought to view the Holocaust with the same analytical tools as other historical events.
The prison society of Terezín produced its own social hierarchies under which seemingly small differences among prisoners (of age, ethnicity, or previous occupation) could determine whether one ultimately lived or died. During the three and a half years of the camp’s existence, prisoners created their own culture and habits, bonded, fell in love, and forged new families. Based on extensive archival research in nine languages and on empathetic reading of victim testimonies, The Last Ghetto is a transnational, cultural, social, gender, and organizational history of Terezín, revealing how human society works in extremis and highlighting the key issues of responsibility, agency and its boundaries, and belonging.
Dr. Josh Andy is a full time teacher at Winchester Thurston School, and an educational programs leader and Holocaust scholar with Classrooms Without Borders. An accomplished and award winning educator, Dr. Andy holds a Ph.D. in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University and teaches in the Upper School. In addition to teaching Genocide and Holocaust Studies, he teaches a course on the modern Middle East, Multicultural America, and AP European history. Next year he will teach Russian history. He has traveled internationally to study global cultures and issues as part of his work to design engaging courses for his students. He earned WT’s Mary Houston Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014, which funded his trip to Amman, Jordan, to develop his Middle East course.