Alex Ehren is poet, a prisoner and a teacher in block 31 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the children's block. He spends his days trying to survive while illegally giving lessons to his young charges while shielding them as best he can from the impossible horrors of the camp. But trying to teach the children is not the only illicit activity that Alex is involved in. Alex is keeping a diary. Originally published as 'The Painted Wall', Otto Kraus's autobiographical novel, tells the true story of 500 Jewish children who lived in the Czech Family Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau between September 1943 and June 1944.