In 2005, Music of Remembrance established the David Tonkonogui Memorial Award (DTMA) in memory of our beloved friend and inspiring colleague, cellist David Tonkonogui. Through this youth musician's award, we recognize the musical and spiritual values which David Tonkonogui expressed through his music and his life.
A group of 100 teenage boys lived in the same room, Home One, at Terezín. Terezín is known by many for its use in Nazi propaganda depicting it as “the Fuehrer’s gift to Jews.” In reality, life there was brutal, cut short by cold, disease, starvation—and regular deportations to death camps. Of the 15,000 children sent to Terezín, less than 1,000 were alive by war’s end.
The boys in Home One, aged thirteen to sixteen, documented their lives in a secret weekly magazine that they called VEDEM (Czech for “In the Lead”). They drew pictures, and wrote essays, interviews and poetry. It was a huge risk—they would have been sent to death camps if caught—but the magazine was never discovered. Sidney Taussig, the only boy to remain at Terezín until the end of the war, buried about 800 pages of the magazine, then retrieved the manuscript after liberation.