The ''Magdeburg Barracks'' became the seat of the Council of Elders and the offices of the Jewish self-administration. Besides the offices, here there were also the apartments of the members of the self-administration and a hall for cultural performances. (Today, in part of the building, there is located the Center for Encounters.)



Lightly, silently, the snow falls. Crystal flakes swirl through the air like dancers, slowly drifting down like a symbol of human life, to be joined on the ground by millions of others. It is one of the first days of winter, almost holiday-like with the coming of the first snow. Winter, it seems, has decided to enfold Prague in white robes to celebrate its arrival. I shake off my reverie and turn away from the snow-clad town. Suddenly I hear my mother's voice calling from the kitchen. "Hurry up, Rudy, you'll be late for school!" I hurry into the kitchen. There's a cup of steaming coffee on the table, with two buttered rolls beside it, baked to a golden brown. The room is warm and twice as pleasant with the north wind blowing outside. I quickly eat my breakfast, put my sandwich into my bag, don my coat and cap. A kiss for Mum and the door of our flat slams behind me. The streets are still in half-darkness and full of snow melting under the feet of the passersby hurrying to work. From across the street a schoolmate beckons and we walk quickly to school together. Morning lessons are soon over and noisy crowds of boys and girls pour out of the school gates into the snow-covered streets. It has stopped snowing, the sun has come out and its warm face has transformed the city's white raiments into a sparkling cloak covered with thousands of diamonds. The air is clear, and everyone's soul seems uplifted. Many passersby break out in bright smiles when they see this snowy wonderland tempting the pupils, stiff with inactivity, to all sorts of mischief. After an exhilarating snowball fight we hurry home, numb with cold. My parents are already waiting for me with a good hot meal. After lunch I stretch out for a while on the sofa where in the wink of an eye an exciting book transports me to faraway lands full of grand adventures. Suddenly I look at my watch: it's late. The boys will be waiting for
me. I grab my skates, my hockey stick, then it's off to the ice rink with my gang. We are welcomed from far off by noise and shouting in the crystal winter air. Skates are donned and we circle on the hard, smooth ice, trying out the skills we learned the year before. Time spent in motion in the fresh air also passes quickly and late in the afternoon, tired but rosy-cheeked, we return home. At night I tumble into bed with memories of a wonderful day and plan the pleasures of tomorrow, until sleep comes and with it, wonderful dreams. The door bangs. Zdeněk pushes breathlessly into the group of boys huddled in a corner. "The transports are leaving, gentlemen!""Great," says Erik sarcastically, and kicks the table."They say they're going to Birkenau," someone says."I heard it was to 'I~inec," replies another. "So what, it's just more rumors." Bully, who is sitting on one of the bunks, is apathetic. "We've heard it all before, and it was always a false alarm. I say there's nothing to it "
"And I'm telling you, boys, that this time it's the real thing," says Kaki. "Dad says he talked to one of the fellows from the secretariat and he says this time it's really going.""Oh dear," says Orče, taking his head in his hands, "then we're sure to go. We've been registered.""Let's wait and see," Herbert responds, ending the discussion."Gentlemen, who is going for lunch?" And the group disperses, with each of the boys wondering, "Is the transport really leaving? And will I be on it?"
The noonhour passes in tense expectation. At two p.m. Honza bursts into the room: "Boys, the first lot is ready, I'm going to the Leitung to see who's in it." Pandemonium. A crowd of boys races to the office. There's a lineup there already. Everything is suddenly silent. All you can hear is the shuffling of feet. "A lot from Number Five are in it," someone whispers to the newcomers. The door opens. "Lustig, Blum, Polák Jan," says Ríša to those who are waiting outside, impatient, terrified, wanting to know the worst. "Kraus from Number One," we suddenly hear, and Hans Kraus comes out of the Leitung. He is pale but smiling and with an admirable mixture of despair and pride, he holds up his summons for the transport. Once you get it, it is really best to say: "So what, there is nothing to be done about it "
In a little while all the summonses have been handed out and the crowd in front of the office disperses. "Gentlemen, I escaped the first lot, but I'll bet I'm in the second," says Orče, the pessimist, with a martyr's expression on his face. The afternoon goes by in feverish preparations. In the evening, as luck would have it, there is a lichtsperre* and we have to pack by candlelight, which casts fantastic shadows on the wall. "String!" calls Mrs. Laubová, who has the say in matters pertaining to packing. Immediately a dozen hands reach out with what she asked for. Suddenly there is a strong feeling of solidarity. Everyone wants to help. The second lot and any additions have not been announced yet. All at once, Tiny comes in: "To bed all of you, at once!" Everybody grumbles. Who can be thinking of sleep tonight? But in the end, everyone climbs into bed. I lie on my bunk and in my mind's eye I see a color film of Terezín. I see the Schleuse, the pandemonium, the shouts and curses, then a sudden scarlet fever epidemic, the smell of medicines, fever, and then, half a year later, I am standing in the kitchen with a mess tin full of stinking, rotten potatoes, hunger again for lunch, every day, then the terror of being sent to Poland, and Mum's worried eyes when I have pneumonia. And my last thought before falling asleep is: What will tomorrow bring?

- ini (Rudolf Laub)


Rrundibár the Organ Grinder - the children`s opera thet enjoy an andless number of repeat
performances in front of Terezin audiences - was a well-deserved success. I have no wish
to quarrel with the quality of the libretto or the music, or speculate on whether it was property directed. That is a matter for the critics and for the people who watched it from the auditorium.
But I can say thet the effort put into the children`s opera was far from small and it was not easy, in the comparatively short time of one-and-a-half month, to reherse a ten-man orchestra,
a forty-member children`s choir, and ten soloists, who were also children. Or have you ever been a director who has had to deal with fifty strapping boys and girls who are convinced
that the more noise and fun during the rehearsalts the better? No - it`s not easy and I take my hat off to Rudi Freudenfeld, because throughout the rehearsals he only got angry a few times, and then calmed down again immediately. I would not have had thet kind of patience, and I doubt wheather anybody alse would have either. To give you the story Brundibár from tts origin to the first night:
the first rehearsals

-ini (Rudolf Laub)


One fine day Mr. XY asked his promising son: "How did you enjoy the theater?"
His son answers brightly, "You know, Daddy, it was all right, but the music sounded a bit like a siren."
Father: "Was it happy or funny?"
"Well, you know, the meaning was serious, but it was very funny."
"Oh, I see. Well, I suppose I had better go and see for myself."

(Unknown author)