In 1942, a group of teenage boys set out to defy the Third Reich’s ban on free speech and undermine the propaganda machine behind the regime’s biggest hoax by launching what would become the longest-running underground magazine inside a Nazi camp.
Vedem, which means “In The Lead” in Czech, unflinchingly documented life within the walls of the Terezin Ghetto, a Czechoslovakia fortress town turned concentration camp. This ghetto was a place where some Jews were placed awaiting transportation to the East, where they were to be killed.
At one point when the Danish Red Cross and the Swedish Red Cross asked where their deported Jewish citizens had gone, the Nazis cleaned up the camp during a process called "The Embellishment." They planted flowers and grass and led a tour through specific areas of the town designed to create the false narrative that they were creating a good life for their captives and obscure their plans of mass extermination for the Jews.
Since 2016, the Vedem Foundation (Website) has produced, operated and promoted a traveling museum collection about Vedem, whose 83 weekly issues totaling 800 pages were a symbol of protest and rebellion by some of the era’s youngest creative activists.
The traveling museum collection titled Vedem Underground has landed in Maitland at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center at 851 N. Maitland Avenue (MAP). It will be on display now til April 3, 2020.
The exhibit re-imagines Vedem as "the original ‘Zine." Los Angeles-based art director Michael Murphy conceptualized the exhibit as a merging of punk subculture-inspired art and the 1940s-era ‘zine aesthetic.
The new product in true 'zine fashion comes complete with “Masthead,” “Mission,” “Newsroom,” “Printing Press” and “Circulation” sections as well as panels dedicated to subject matter such as “Columns,” “Features,” “Humor” and “News and Editorial” panels. This re-imagining enlarges the intimate scale of the original publication while mixing and matching works of art with poetry and prose to create a collage in which Vedem is reinterpreted as a work of rebellion and social commentary that remains as relevant today as it did more than 70 years ago.
Read more about Terezin, or Theresienstadt, HERE.