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OBJECT OF THE MONTH – February 2008

Pavel Hrach (graphic design), Václav Fajt (engraving): Miniature sheet and stamp featuring the drawing Moonscape by Petr Ginz (1928–1944)

steel engraving in black, 116 x 76 mm (stamp: 40 x 26 mm)
Nominal value of stamp: CZK 31
Printed by Poštovní tiskárna cenin Praha, a. s.
Issued by the Czech Ministry of Informatics on 20 January 2005

This special miniature sheet and stamp was issued in memory of the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster. On 1 February 2003, the shuttle exploded, killing all seven astronauts as the ship re-entered Earth’s atmosphere following a 16-day mission. Among the crew was the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who had brought with him several objects, including a miniature Torah scroll from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the Bible on microfilm, the Israeli flag, a Kiddush cup and a copy of a drawing entitled Moonscape, which was made in 1943 by Petr Ginz, a 15-year-old boy incarcerated in the Terezín ghetto.
Born in Prague, Petr Ginz (1928–1944) was a multi-talented boy from an early age who wrote for his school magazine. On 24 October 1942, he was deported to the Terezín ghetto, where he continued to write articles and draw pictures; these have been preserved thanks to a friend who survived the Holocaust. Ginz’s drawings are now owned by his sister Chava Pressburger and the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem. Some of his works are also in the collections of the Jewish Museum in Prague. The specially issued stamp features a reproduction of his sketch of the Earth as seen from the Moon, along with his photograph. Petr Ginz perished in Auschwitz in the autumn of 1944 at the age of 16. By tragic coincidence, the Columbia disaster occurred on what would have been his 50th birthday. His dream of space exploration, however, had come true.


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