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Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  146 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Paul B. Janeczko’s stirring new collection of poems goes inside the walls of the notorious camp to portray the indomitable spirit of those incarcerated there.

Hitler hailed Terezín (Theresienstadt) as a haven for artistic Jews, when in reality the Czech concentration camp was little more than a way station to the gas chambers. In his second book inspired by devastating hist
Hardcover, 102 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Candlewick Press (first published February 22nd 2011)
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I felt like it was far too short and not nearly in-depth enough to warrant publication. It felt very under-developed and somewhat emotionally manipulative, given the subject matter. Perhaps I'm being a bit overly critical in light of an excellent and somewhat similar book, The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, which, like this book, dealt with a terrible tragedy using poems from multiple perspectives. The biggest difference between the two, and the reason for my rating of this ...more
May 17, 2012 Sandra rated it it was amazing
The last book I read was Anne Frank a graphic biography. It was incredible, so when I spied this book on the store shelves, I eagerly nabbed it as my next read.

I realized that I didn't know much about the Terezin Ghetto, so I did a bit of research before beginning my read of the poems.

Terezin was originally a fortress town in Czechoslovakia. Hitler and his fellow Nazis turned it into a collection and transport camp for the Jewish people. How do you like the euphemisms collect and transport? Th
Used in conjunction with art work done in the camp, these poems illuninate a variety of experiences. Sad and hard-hitting.
Jul 04, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
A nice addition to any 8-10th grade Holocaust unit. Some really lovely, powerful poems in this small collection.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Janeczko writes each poem from the point of view of a different person--mostly from the Jews who are imprisoned in the ghetto, but also from some of the Nazis. Together the poems describe what life was like in Terezin and the history of it, beginning with Kristallnacht and ending with the emptying of the ghetto. The poems are filled with such sadness that the reader is glad that the book is not a long one. In one poem, a girl talks about each of her friends, what made them special, and which tra ...more
Tillie Torpey
Janeczko, P. (2011). Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto. Candlewick.

Theme/Topic: Experiences of Holocaust victims and Nazi soldiers throughout WWII.

Critique (comments, observations, questions):
I really enjoyed reading this book because one of my interests is learning about different genocides, but as well the different perspectives of experiences and thoughts Jewish survivors might have during this difficult time. Some perspectives I would never think of, such as bed bugs. Reading this book g
Edward Sullivan
Jan 13, 2011 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Stunning, vivid collection of poems expressing the points of view of Jews sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and the Nazis who exterminated them. The poem about the crematorium is particularly chilling. The majority of voices are composites culled from Janeczko's research. An outstanding addition to Holocaust literature for young people.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Apr 08, 2012 Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, poetry, holocaust, 2012
A small but powerful book. Chilling, haunting and deeply moving. Each poem was a reminder of the tragedies that occurred during the Holocaust. Each poem was the voice (even if the people were composites of real people) of a person who had lost their voice during this period of cruelty.
Feb 21, 2016 Barbara rated it it was amazing
This slim volume of poems written in several different voices describes briefly but powerfully some of the experiences of the inmates of Terezin, a Czech holding tank for Jews during the Holocaust. It was in Terezin where the prisoners were allowed to play music, providing a bittersweet distraction while all the while being aware that their time was running out. The stories and the voices are unforgettable, adding to the volumes of Holocaust literature already in existence. The author's poems se ...more
Makenzie Sliva
Nov 30, 2013 Makenzie Sliva rated it really liked it
Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto, is filled with touching poems that tell the story of the Czech concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia during World War II. Each poem shares the experiences of the people at the concentration camp and paints a picture of what they went through during their time there. Each poem is told by a different person, some being Jews that were in the camp and some being guards and officers involved with the cruel practices. When the Danish Red Cross is expected ...more
Samantha Pendleton
Dec 01, 2013 Samantha Pendleton rated it really liked it
This book includes several stories told from inmates in Terezin, a holding tank in Czech during the Holocaust. These stories are told through short poems from several different inmates who experienced the inmate holding tank for Jews. These poems shed light to readers on how the Jews in Terezin were treated and how they lived. There are black and white illustrations spread apart throughout the chapter book. These illustrations are not very detailed but they give the reader insight to the conditi ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Paul Janeczko is one of my favorite non-fiction authors and I'm always a little thrown when I come across a poetry book of his. This ins't to say he isn't a good poet, simply that my mind has him filed away elsewhere.

Requiem is a wonderful work that combines the authors skills at research, history and poetry all in one. It's not a cheerful read, but a compassionate and thoughtful one.
Becky Martin
Apr 07, 2013 Becky Martin rated it liked it
This book of poems are all told from the point of view of people who experienced life in the Terezin ghetto. Each poem is titled after the name of the author, and they are told from the point of view of the author. While many of the poems are told from the point of view of Jewish residents in the Terezin ghetto, a few poems are told from the point of view of some SS Officers. I believe this is a great way to see the history of this ghetto. As the Jewish culture was not restricted in this ghetto, ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Holocaust books tend to be difficult to read. This was no exception.

I saw Paul B. Janeczko when he was a featured author at TCTELA (Texas Council of English Teachers) at Houston. I bought this book there.

It's a thin book of poetry, haunting in its simplicity. The art truly sets off the poems.

In April the 8th graders are going to do a Holocaust unit. I'm thinking of adding this to my class novel set to support my 8th grade struggling readers.
Mz. Diana Gagliardi
Dec 15, 2015 Mz. Diana Gagliardi rated it really liked it
Only one of the poems is "real"- taken from a letter written in the Ghetto- however the feelings of desperation and confinement that are expressed and the events that they were taken from were all too real.
Apr 06, 2014 Shirley rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Very interesting to learn more about what actually happened at Terezin and how the Nazi's portrayed its "residents." Primarily housed artists. I hope my 8th grade students will read this book.
Sandy Brehl
Words can't express the impact of this collection of poems from Terezin, Czechoslovakia during the German ghettoization of WWII. It became a collection and transport town for Jews destined for the gas ovens in concentration camps. Many of its temporary residents were noted intellectuals and artists, with some of their works tolerated as a propaganda tool by the Nazis. Although based on extensive research, the "poets" cited are generally fictional composites. The reality of their situations and f ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Daven rated it really liked it
Compelling poetry to interweave with 8th-graders' study of the Holocaust, and reading of Elie Wiesel's Night.
Jan 23, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry

This is an amazing collection about an event that is hard to fathom. The poet takes us into the heart of one of the many ghettos that were set up by the Nazis during World War Two. He has shared the possible thoughts of the prisoners and those who knew they were going to die. Their stories, their journeys and those who were left behind. I still do not think we can fully comprehend the horrors that they faced. Yet there was beauty to be found in the simplest things of everyday. That beauty is ca
Donna F.
Mar 16, 2015 Donna F. rated it it was amazing
sparse wording. big impact. primary source illustrations.
abbylee Oqueli
Nov 30, 2014 abbylee Oqueli rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is going to be perfect for my "butterfly" unit!!!!
Although the poems are primarily fictitious, I enjoyed the concentrated look at Terezin, also known as Ghetto Theresienstadt, " 'Home' for many Jewish intellectuals and artists of Prague."
The Nazis promoted Terezin as a haven for artistic Jews, but in reality it was merely a lay-over for those headed to the extermination camps. In this free verse novel, Janeczko gives voice to all the players—the imprisoned Jews, the commandant and his soldiers, and the townspeople. The poems are illustrated with artwork by the Jewish artists, found after the war. Both words and pictures are stunning and chilling. (Originally written for and posted on Mackin Books in Bloom at http://mackinbooksin ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
For someone who is already quite familiar with the subject, these poems of the Terezin Ghetto are quite poignant. I worried though that other readers might need more background knowledge. I would have liked to see the Afterword as an Introduction for the young adult reader who might not know this history as well as I do. I hope this book finds an audience with adults, too. Its contents are just as appropriate for an adult publisher as a children's, maybe even more so.
Scott Allen
Jan 10, 2013 Scott Allen rated it really liked it
Some of these poems truly touched me. I picked this up to use in an assignment for my Freshman while we read Night, by Elie Wiesel. Like some of the other reviewers have stated, these poems are simple. I usually like my poetry a little deeper, full of poetic turns and figurative language. These are are more just little stories written in poem form, but for Freshman studying the Holocaust and Holocaust literature they will be great.
Mar 08, 2012 Jessie rated it really liked it
Shelves: holocaust
A good collection of poems for young/inexperienced poetry readers. This book is a fictional collection of poems from people involved in a Holocaust ghetto. It provides several different perspectives, although the German ones were, as you would expect, shallow and rather one dimensional. There was some good imagery and figurative language, but it lacked the depth and complexity of more sophisticated poetry.
Reviewed at:

Paul Janeczko has written such a haunting book of poetry. It is as if he transported himself to Terezin and lived the life of these people who he has created to tell us the story of the ghetto. Combined with the all too real artwork from Jewish artists from Terezin, Requiem is a brilliant collection of poetry.
Jan 21, 2016 Adrienne rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, poetry
This is a collection of brief poems that describes how the Nazis herded Jews into the Terezin ghetto before shipping them off to the death camps. The poems show the view point of the Jews, as well as the SS guards and the non-Jewish people who were removed from their homes in order to build the ghetto. It’s a slim collection of poems, but it’s definitely moving, showing lost love, broken lives, and more.
Mrs. Kenyon
Jun 26, 2013 Mrs. Kenyon rated it really liked it
Shelves: wannabees-14-15
A very short and fast read about the Terezin Ghetto during the Holocaust. Although it is a good book that touches the heart, I feel it is too short. Only 90 pages long with a lot of drawings dispersed throughout. Nice for a HS library, but hopefully there are better choices for the Rosie list.
Aug 03, 2014 Tessa rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and striking.
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Poetry 1 2 Mar 21, 2016 07:49PM  
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  • Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
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  • Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • BookSpeak!: Poems about Books
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  • Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart
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  • Roots and Blues: A Celebration
Paul B. Janeczko is a poet and teacher and has edited more than twenty award-winning poetry anthologies for young people, including STONE BENCH IN AN EMPTY PARK, LOOKING FOR YOUR NAME, SEEING THE BLUE BETWEEN, and A POKE IN THE I, which was an American Library Association Notable Book.
More about Paul B. Janeczko...

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“A white linen tablecloth
edged with pink roses --
Mama's favorite pattern --
flowed like a bride's train
from sidewalk to curb to gutter.
Papa stared at black boot marks
crossing it like sins.”
“You are making music
in the shadow of the gallows.”
More quotes…