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Home >> Events >> Past Events >> 2010 >> 2010-04-08 Opening of "Monopoly - Living in Illusion"
 
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“MONOPOLY – LIVING IN ILLUSION" - the Opening Event 

The connection between the two words “bank” and “ghetto” is like the ‎connection between Herzl and Lilienblum to discount bank but ‎nevertheless, under the patronage of discount bank there exists in Tel Aviv ‎the “HerzLilienblum”, a museum for banking and Tel Aviv nostalgia and at ‎this museum the exhibition “Monopoly – Living in Illusion” was held from ‎April to June, on the subject of the bank, which existed in ghetto ‎Theresienstadt. In the following a report on a few events at the exhibition.‎

What is common to a bank, a symbol from the world of free work and prosperity ‎and the ghetto where work was forced labor with no profit? Children, men and ‎women aged 14 – 65 were employed in ghetto Theresienstadt in forced labor. ‎But on the German’s order a bank was established, there where nearly 50.000 ‎accounts for workers and other ghetto inmates. To acquiesce to the ruler’s ‎demands and to prove the rise in efficiency, work reports and finance flow ‎charts were prepared and banknotes printed; with the latter one could at the ‎most pay for the watery beverage called “coffee” at the café opened at the main ‎square, this, too, as part of the image of an quasi normal life in the ghetto the ‎Nazis wanted to present.‎
The ghetto leadership (“Council of Elders”) managed accounts with a population ‎that reached at times 58.000 souls, in a place whח"כ אופיר אקוניס, עודד ברידא, ד"ר יוסי בכרose infrastructure was suited to ‎hold not more than 7.000 persons, most of these in barracks. The leadership ‎took care of construction and infrastructure and tried to maintain the town. They ‎had to provide food for all ghetto inmates, productive work in the hope that this ‎would prevent transport to the East; they had to establish hospitals and health ‎care for the prisoners under the threat of epidemics, disease and hunger and ‎they had, of course, to care for youth and its education, in the face of the many ‎German prohibitions. The leaders encouraged cultural activities and took special ‎care to occupy children through education, creation, play and games (e.g. the ‎‎“Monopoly” of the ghetto) and safeguarding them, as far as possible.‎

All these activities took place under the threat of drastic collective punishments, ‎execution and torture and mainly the constant fluctuation of population – ‎transports arriving from all communities of Central Europe and transports ‎leaving to the East – to forced labor and extermination camps. The organization ‎of labor in the ghetto is aptly documented in the album “Working in a Trap”, ‎created originally in the ghetto and reprinted in a special edition by Beit ‎Theresienstadt.‎

Through cooperation of Beit Terezin and the Discount bank theברידא, רון חולדאי, ד"ר יוסי בכר exhibition ‎‎“Monopoly – Living in Illusion” was opened on April 8, 2010, at the ‎HerzLilienblum museum in Tel Aviv. The exhibition, whose opening was ‎attended by VIPs and Holocaust survivors, displays two faces of life in ghetto ‎Theresienstadt: the existence and function of the bank and the organization of ‎labor in the ghetto; and a spotlight on the life of children in the ghetto (1942-‎‎1945) in contrast to the life of Tel Aviv children in those years.‎

The exhibition describes life in the ghetto, the world of children and youth ‎studying clandestinely but at the same time drawing their surroundings, together ‎with dreams and serenity they wish for – and on top of all this threaten hunger, ‎diseases, death and transports to extermination camps and separation from the ‎family.‎
The exhibition ”Monopoly – Living in Illusion” documents the children’s life ‎through their drawings.‎
Work and the development of the bank are shown through reports and drawings ‎by adults, in the anomalous reality the ghetto inmates lived in; in the end most ‎were sent to extermination camps and did not return. At the same time, children ‎in Tel Aviv studied in educational institutions, played and went to the sea – they ‎were free.‎
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