The story of our classmate - Arnošt Thiele

We are students from the Jan Neruda High School in Prague. Every day we go past a commemorative plaque reminding us of twenty victims of the Second World War who had something in common with our school. However, recently our history teacher Mrs. Hanzlíková found out that twelve names are missing. These are the names of twelve students who were forced to leave the school and were murdered in concentration camps because of their Jewish origin. Among them was also Arnošt Thiele who caught our attention. Arnošt Thiele was born in 1925 and died together with his entire family in the concentration camp Maly Trostenets in 1942.

We decided to tell his story in the form of a short film that followed his footsteps. By making the film we wanted to raise awareness of the twelve missing names and of the horror of the Holocaust. The film makes it more personal to students from our school. To raise awareness we also took part at the public reading of Holocaust victims´ names which is part of the Holocaust Rememberance Day (Yom ha-Shoah) and takes place every year in several cities in the Czech Republic (including Prague).

To follow Arnošt´s footsteps we visited several places including the Theresienstadt ghetto and the library of the Terezín Initiative Institute, where we found out more about Arnošt´s background. We also participated at a seminar organised by the Shoah Memorial in the DOX Centre for Contemporary art in Prague which gave us some ideas on how to make the film. Altogether we worked on the film for a little over a year.

We are hoping to tell Arnošt´s story to as many people as possible as his story is not exceptional, it is the story of thousands of other Jewish children.