Philipp Manes: A Thresienstadt Chronicle

Ben Barkow, Klaus Leist

28/02/2010 2:45 pm

Philipp Manes spent two years in the Czech ghetto of Theresienstadt, where he played a minor role in the Jewish self-administration. He also organised over 500 cultural events, ranging from lectures, to play-readings, poetry competitions and concerts. These helped to maintain the morale and integrity of his fellows’ identity in a way that can now be recognised as offering resistance to the Nazis. In his last months he wrote an extraordinary 986 page account of his experiences, which breaks off in mid-sentence when he and his wife were deported to Auschwitz, where they were among the last people to go into the gas chambers.

The book’s editors Ben Barkow and Klaus Leist spoke about the book and read passages from it. The session was be chaired by Victoria Glendinning.

Ben Barkow

Ben Barkow is Director of The Wiener Library and the author of Arthur Wiener and the Making of the Holocaust Library.

Klaus Leist

Dr Klaus Leist works at The Wiener Library, concentrating on deciphering and translating old documents. He edited As If It Were Life, A WWII Diary from the Theresienstadt Ghetto by Philipp Manes with Ben Barkow.

Victoria Glendinning

Victoria Glendinning is a critic, broadcaster, novelist and award-winning biographer (the latest, Leonard Woolf). She is President of English PEN.