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Theresienstadt (Terezin)

The concentration camp was originally built as a fort under the Habsburg Empire, but it was during the occupation of the Nazis, that Theresienstadt became known. During the second World War, the city was transformed into a ghetto and the fort was rebuilt into a concentration camp. The old prison, which is now a museum, is a terrifying place.

During the War thousands of "unwanted" persons lived here. The SS, who were in charge of the camp tried to picture it toward the public and especially toward the Red Cross as a place worthy for human beings. A place where it was permitted the inmates to have cultural activities, like music and newspapers. Contradicting to the well meaning words the same conditions as in other concentration camps existed here: Famine, hard work, inhuman hygienically conditions and diseases. The 23-rd of June 1944 the Red Cross came on a visit (the Nazi's had solved the problem of over population in advance by sending 50.000 people to Auschwitz. The streets had been rebuilt, everything was neat, clean, everything had been painted, trees had been grown, shops were reopened with goods on the shelves. A music pavilion had been built as well as a café, which played music till late at night. The Red Cross fell for the propaganda scheme. The Germans asked questions to the prisoners, which were arranged beforehand, nobody talked about the death cells. The Red Cross went home thinking that the Jews in Theresienstadt were sitting in the cafés listening to music. Especially touching is the art-work that the Jews made while they were imprisoned. This unfortunately did not mean that the Jews were spared. From the 140.000 people who arrived in the camp 120.000 died.

An exhibition hall and a cinema shows how every day live was during the war, but to get a better understanding of what really happened here, you has to just walk around. When you see the execution square with the shot holes you get an idea of what has happened here.

How to get there? Busses depart several times a day from the bus station Florenc and takes about 1 hour, or order a guided tour at Andel 3W Tourist Service.

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