Location: Czech Republic
A former fortress and garrison built by emperor Joseph II in order to protect the town and the region from enemies, Terezín is located in northeast Czech Republic. During World War II, the garrison and fortress became a "transit ghetto" and concentration camp for Jewish people, many of whom were later transported mostly to Auschwitz. During the time of the existence of the "Ghetto," Jews were secretly culturally active and wrote many theatre plays and poems. Works of local painters and artists are exhibited today in the local museum.
To make the camp "acceptable" among the locals in Terezín, the camp was made to look normal and integrated into the city. Grassy parks and flower beds were built, and music concerts were had to deceive International Red Cross inspectors. At War's end it reversed roles and interned Nazi commanders. This sober and shocking excursion takes students down the same path that led more than 33,000 to their death during World War II.
Today, the town seems a ghost town, as if there is no life. The town is virtually empty, and there are not many people on the streets—a stark contrast from the overcrowded population of the camp and town during WWII. Today, only a few shops and many closed pubs, a grim reminder of the terrible history that holds still in the air. Time permitting students may be interested in visiting a work camp from World War II.
Available in the following sessions