Exhibition focus on horror camp artwork

Brian Devlin at the exhibition in St Annes
Brian Devlin at the exhibition in St Annes
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Artwork by children who were imprisoned in concentration camps during the Second World War has gone on show in St Annes – and could be set for further exposure in the town’s Music and Arts Festival this summer.

The Island Cinema is hosting the display by youngsters who were held at the Terezin ghetto, in what was then Czechoslovakia.

It has been put together by Brian Devlin, an art enthusiast from Scotland who has borrowed the prints from the Jewish Museum in Prague.

Terezin was a concentration camp to which Jewish families were sent from across Czechoslovakia during the Second World War and the exhibition focuses on life in the ghetto from the unique perspective of the youngsters.

It is entitled Children’s Story: Children’s Drawings from the Terezín Ghetto 1943-1944, and Brian’s aim is for it to tour the UK, ending in London.

It continues at The Island until April 18 – and St Annes Music and Arts Festival organiser Barbara Mackenzie has already expressed an interest in giving the images a further show in town during the festival in July.

“It is a fascinating exhibition, and just the kind of material which would be ideal for the festival,” she said. “I visited the Terezin ghetto when my husband and I were in the Czech Republic some years ago, and it was a harrowing experience.”

Brian said he had decided to begin the exhibition’s tour in Fylde because of the area’s strong links with heritage, as well as tourism.

“I am testing the water here and seeing how it is received,” he said. “The idea eventually is to develop a children’s war museum, but I wanted to take it around the country first.

“I have always been fond of the Fylde, and I know it is a region with a keen interest in heritage. I also felt the Fylde would be the ideal place to develop the museum because of its strong tourism industry.

“So I got in touch with some local venues, and The Island cinema was particularly keen to get involved with what I am doing.

“I hope adults and children, will come see it, especially as it is on during the Easter holidays.”

Linda Wong Hunter, manager of The Island cinema, said: “We are honoured to be chosen as one of the venues to host this extraordinary exhibition. The Second World War was a major event in our history, but the effects it had on the children in the Jewish community is very often missed, so this exhibition is very important as it highlights, in a very emotional way, their point of view.”

The exhibition is open for visitors to view during The Island’s box office opening times and admission to the display is free, although donations are welcome to cover costs.