No Child’s Play: Children in the Holocaust: Creativity and Play
About the Exhibition
“It is not proper to be ashamed of any game. This in no child’s play. It is wrong for adults to say – and for the more intelligent of the children to repeat after them – ‘Such a big boy and he plays like a baby: such a big girl and she still plays with dolls.’ What matters is not what one plays with, but rather how and what one thinks and feels while playing...”
Excerpt from Janusz Korczak, “Rules of Life”, A Childhood of Dignity
Approximately one and a half million of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust were children. The number of children who survived is estimated in the mere thousands.
The Holocaust brought the childhood of these youngsters to an untimely end. Nevertheless, even those murdered in the Holocaust and the few who survived continued to be children, while taking upon themselves additional functions. In many cases, they became breadwinners and gave their parents the encouragement and hope to continue their desperate daily struggle for survival.
However, whenever they could be children like others, they played, laughed, were creative, and expressed their fears and hopes.
This exhibition tells the story of survival – the struggle of these children to hold on to life. It describes their attempts to maintain their childhood and youth by creating for themselves a different reality from that which surrounded them.
Curator: Yehudit Inbar, Director, Yad Vashem Museums Division
Designers: Pnina Friedman and Orit Hall