Theresienstadt/Terezin

July 30, 2014  •  1 Comment

My reaction to Terezin Ghetto and concentration camp was more emotional than Auschwitz-Birkenau

Terezin or Theresienstadt, the Austro-Hungarian name, is in many ways more sinister than Auschwitz.

The first impression is one of an normal town.

Terezin Ghetto Exezierplatz Terezin GhettoSmall Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terezin GhettoExezierplatz Terezin Ghetto Small Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was the whole idea.

The NAZIs needed a place to settle 'well known' Jewish interlectuals and celebrities who were famous domestically and internationally. They needed a place that would confirm their propagandaThe settlement of the Jews in the East. Theresienstadt was the ideal place for a "Show Ghetto".

Theresienstadt was originally built in 1780 by Emperor Joseph II of Austria and named after his mother, Empress Maria Theresa. Terezin consisted of the Big Fortress and the Small Fortress.  However, Terezin had not been used as a fortress since 1882; Terezin had become a garrison town that remained virtually the same, almost entirely separated from the rest of the countryside. The Small Fortress was used as a prison for dangerous criminals.

When the SS took over the 18th century Garrison Town of Theresienstadt with its prison in 'The Small Fortress' they evacuated the Czechs living there and converted the garrison town into the Ghetto and the prison to the concentration camp. 

Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration CampEntrance to the Terezin concentration camp in the Terezin small fortress photo by: Petr Pospisil Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the prison in the Small Fortress, which became the concentration camp, though austere was not as horrific as Auschwitz,

Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration Camp Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However these conditions have to been seen in context.  Theresienstadt as a garrison town and prison had a population of 7,500 as a ghetto and concentration camp had a population of 60,000. 

Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration Camp Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Older Jews where sent to Theresienstadt to died from lack of food, slave labour and disease.

My grandmother Ida Kohnova was shipped to Theresienstadt in May 1942 by August1942 she was dead.

Ida KohnovaTransit documents

Which isn't surprising when you see the representation of the living conditions.

Terezin GhettoMuseum recreation of the living conditions in the Ghetto. Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Museum: Recreation of the living conditions in the Terezin Ghetto. It was in these conditions that my grandmother Ida Kohn died.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theresienstadt was also a transit camp to the death camps. My aunt and uncle Irena and Hugo Kauder

Irena KauderovaIrena Kauderova

Hugo KauderHugo Kauder

 were transported to Terezin on the 22 December 1942 and transported on to Auschwitz a month later on the 23 January 1943 where we can assume they were killed. There is no specific record of their deaths. 

Cell in Terezin Concentration CampMy uncle Hugo was imprisoned here for a month before being killed in Auschwitz. Wemon Cells TerezinMy aunt Irene was imprisoned here for a month before being killed in Auschwitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is quite likely that they were held in these cells.

Train Tracks out of Terezin These are the train tracks that took them, and thousand others, to their deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Theresienstadt was slave labour ghetto and concentration camp, not an extermination camp. 15000 people died from the terrible conditions and punishment executions.

Tunnel through the ramparts Terezin500 meter tunnel Through the 500 meter tunnel in the Small Fortress ramparts is the area where prisoner were executed.

On the Gallows

Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration Camp Gallows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 or  by firing squad

Firing squad wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terezin, to me, was about individuals especially in the Ghetto Museum. In the main room on the ground floor all the walls are cover in names.

Terezin Ghetto and Concentration CampTerezin Ghetto and Concentration CampList of Kohn names in the Terezin Ghetto Museum. I was looking for my grandmothers name 'Ida Kohnova' until I realised, from the dates beside each name, these were the names of children. None of them were a direct relation. Kohnova is the feminine of Kohn in Czech.

Searching for my grandmother Ida Kohnova I suddenly realised that the date of birth after each name meant they were children and teenagers.

Exhibit in the Ghetto Museum Children's Drawings

This Ghetto Building had been an orphanage and school for the children.

The Ghetto Museum building had been their home and school where the teachers were some of the best minds in Europe. However they lived in constant dread of The Transports.

"Transport! In Theresienstadt, no word was so terrible and frightening as that. The prisoners trembled even at the thought of it. Not only because of the closed and ominous freight cars or the fact that people were stuffed into them without food or drink for many days, but also because of what was awaiting them at their new destination. Usually, the transports were to Birkenau in Poland, where despite of its isolation from the outside world, it was known that besides harder work, less and worse food and beatings by the SS, there were also gas chambers.” 

Written by: Benzion Epelmann, Terezin survivor 

The education was of little practical use. The children who drew the above pictures were exterminated, with the  thousand names on the walls, in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The death of children is always tragic... children are the future. 

It was this, that struck home to me, the extermination of these children and the millions both Jew and gentile adults in the Holocaust has change our future. These children of Terezin would by now have had children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.

 We can only surmise what they might have achieved. 

This is also true of the genocide of millions in "ethnic cleansing" or whatever the media decide to call murder in the name of economics, race or religion.

Terzin GhettoMy reactions

 


Comments

Marlene Kuca(non-registered)
What amazing photos and a really good lesson in history. Loved it
No comments posted.
Loading...
Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February March April (1) May June July August September (3) October November December
January February March April May June July (1) August (1) September (1) October November December
January (1) February March April (2) May (3) June (2) July (1) August (2) September (1) October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December