The events depicted in the Ester novels are true, documented events corroborated by relevant historical sources, testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and other documentation. While creating the novels, one of the important goals was to find the correct balance between a certain degree of necessary liberty between the dramatization and the historical facts.
Ester graphic novels were created as a reconstruction and dramatization of history based on available fragments of personal stories, keeping in mind a certain target and age group. Taking this approach, while keeping historical events and facts as central in the stories, we placed the main focus on the human aspects, feelings, and thoughts of the main characters, with the aim of engaging students on a different level by creating a purposeful tool for teaching and learning about the Holocaust.
Particular segments of the stories were created specifically to better present the Jewish culture and traditions and the pre-war Jewish life in Serbia.
In some cases we used experiences of several different individuals and families by blending them into one single story. For instance, it might have been another father who, just a few days before he was shot, gave his cap to his son during his son’s last visit to the Topovske Šupe Concentration Camp. But it is a matter of historical fact that there really was a father who did it.
In order to present specific aspects or subjects, such as collaboration, resistance, helpers, refugees, looting of Jewish property, etc., some otherwise historically accurate details are implanted into the stories, usually by placing some of the main characters at a particular location and time. For instance, in one of the novels, one of the main characters is present during the Volksdeutsche march through central Belgrade in September 1941. We cannot know if this boy was there that day, but – he might have been. On the other hand, the event itself is a well-documented historical fact, and it was important to present it to the students. Having in mind the educational purpose of the novels, we believe that such adaptations were justified.
It is important to emphasize that all interventions and dramatizations were made in accordance with historical sources and under the supervision of expert historians in order not to jeopardize the crucial and important historical facts.