World Premiere: "The Boys of Terezín" Documentary

Members of the Northwest Boychoir discuss their experience participating in the music and the film with Producer John Sharify


October 30 marked the culmination of two years' effort with the world premiere public screening of The Boys of Terezín. Over 200 people gathered in the Seattle Art Museum's Plestcheeff Auditorium for the screening, preceded by Mina Miller's comments and a performance of the boys' anthem from Terezín, sung beautifully by five of the teenagers who appeared in the film as members of The Northwest Boychoir.

After the film those teenagers joined film producer John Sharify onstage to share their reactions. What they made clear, with eloquence and passion, is that their lives had been changed by learning and singing Lori Laitman's Vedem oratorio, meeting the Terezín survivors as they rehearsed the work, and participating in the film. They spoke about how the experience had enriched their lives, deepened their communication with their families and teachers, and inspired them to work for a better world.

It's an amazing experience to have been in this. It's really important not only [for us] who were in it, but for everybody to understand the story and know all about how all these heroic people went through experiences that we can barely imagine today. Things we don't even think could be possible. So I think it's very important that this is shared, and shared with everybody, and not just a select few.

Being partly Jewish, I've been told a lot about the Holocaust, but what I've been told is sort of the basics: it killed 6 million Jews, it was terrible, there was so much loss, and it was a terrible time for humanity as a whole. Meeting the survivors was incredible, because instead of just hearing the mere facts, I was actually seeing living history.

When I was reading these lines [from Vedem], I didn't understand them because they were poetic, instead of an analysis of the event, more of a synthesis, making you feel how it was. It was hard, and going home to my parents and asking them questions was helpful. I really appreciated learning more about the Holocaust, because it's really important to learn about the faults of humanity in order to improve life everywhere.--Jacob

If you missed it, you can watch excerpts from the film here. But those in the audience truly felt the occasion's full impact. We already knew that the powerful documentary would tell an important story about the courageous teenage prisoners and their secret magazine. But, listening to today's young people share how history had been brought to life for them, we were all reminded why this project--the music and the film--was worth all the effort. Thank you, again, for the support that made this possible.

With John Sharify, we have also produced a 15-minute educational version, The Boys of Home One, for classroom use. If you are a student, teacher, or parent, we would love to speak with you about how we can bring it to your school as part of MOR's outreach program. Contact us for more information.