Through a Narrow Window: Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and Her Terezin Students is a beautiful book about a heart-breaking story. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898-1944) was an artist, facing the usual tribulations of being a female artist in the early 1900s, but she faced a bigger struggle being a Jew in Czechoslovakia when the Germans came to power in the 1940s.
The author, Linney Wix, discusses Friedl Dicker-Brandeis' background as an art student and art teacher and the famous artists who taught and influenced her. The primary focus of the book is on Dicker-Brandeis' time in the Terezin concentration camp, which was created as a "model ghetto" for Nazi propaganda but in reality was a way station to the gas chambers. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was interred in Terezin at the end of 1942 and was killed at Auschwitz less than two years later.
The fairy tale part of the story concentrates on Dicker-Brandeis' inspired teaching of art to children in the concentration camp and her wherewithal to hide two suitcases full of the artworks before she was transported to her death. This stash was found after the end of WW2. In the 1990s, I was quite moved when I saw some of this artwork displayed in the Jewish Museum in Prague.
Through a Narrow Window, and an accompanying exhibition that Linney Wix curated at the University of New Mexico Museum, can serve many audiences. It is a beautiful art book filled with reproductions of work produced by Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and her Terezin students. Wix' essays illuminate Dicker-Brandeis' dynamic theories of art education and art therapy; and, Through a Narrow Window also honors a talented artist and Holocaust heroine.
Dr. Linney Wix is an Associate Professor in the Art Education Program. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Thought and Socio-Cultural Studies from the University of New Mexico (2003), her M.Ed. in expressive therapies from Lesley College (1980) and her B.A. in social work and B.F.A. from the University of Montana. Linney's creative work is in painting and ceramics. She is a Registered Art Therapist (A.T.R.) with the American Art Therapy Association and a licensed professional art therapist (L.P.A.T.) in New Mexico.
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