Terezín internment camp

Terezin should be listed as priority on any visitor’s itinerary. It is a living monument to a very tragic chapter in European history.

Originally a small city built in 1780 by Joseph II north-west from Prague, and named after his mother, Empress Maria Theresa. Paradoxically, it was supposed to serve as a Prague defense fortress in case of any invasion from the North.

Yet, during WWII, Adolf Hitler succeeded in convincing the world that it was he who had it built in order to ‘‘protect Jewish citizens from a dangerous and stressful war’’. He even had a propaganda film shot about this supposed idyllic place from fairy tales in which Jewish refugees from the Protectorate states, Germany, Austria, Holland and Denmark were joyfully embraced and welcomed at the gates. Towards the end of the war, Jews from Hungary and Slovakia were also transported to Terezin.

Terezin operated primarily as a transfer station for thousands of Jews who were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz-Brikenau. (The largest and most notorious extermination camp). In less than 4 years more than 140.000 men, women and children were transported to Terezin. People died due to starvation, poor housing conditions, lack of hygiene, diseases and stress. When the war was over, only 3.800 prisoners left Terezin alive and of which only 135 were Jews.