"Terezin" Terezin by Twan

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The fortified town and the fort (called "Little Fort") were in the 18th century built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and named after the Empress Maria Theresa. Both the River Elbe as the Eger flows near the fort. Construction started in 1780 and lasted until 1790, eventually occupied the fort an area of 3.89 km ˛. It is designed in the style of Le Prestre Sebastien de Vauban, and there were about 5600 soldiers stationed. Terezín was not used during wars. In the latter half of the 19th century, the fort served as a prison. During the First World War, the fort as a prisoner of war camp, where the assassin of Franz Ferdinand, Gavrilo Princip was imprisoned until 1916. He suffered from tuberculosis, where he finally in 1918 succumbed to a nearby hospital. In World War II the Nazis used Theresienstadt as a concentration camp while the Little Fort as a prison by the Gestapo came into use.

2nd World War

On June 10, 1940, the Gestapo took over the command in Terezín. Czech and Moravian resistance fighters were imprisoned in the fort. From November 1941, the city would Theresienstadt (the Great Fortress) serve as a ghetto for Jews deported. This had become a concentration camp Theresienstadt. Theresienstadt was primarily a transit camp for Jews who usually soon to Auschwitz-Birkenau and other extermination camps were sent.

On October 30, 1941, SS Obersturmführer Siegfried Seidl by Adolf Eichmann, responsible for the establishment of the ghetto. From November 1941 to July 1943 Seidl functioned as the first commander of the ghetto. The camp Theresienstadt officially opened its doors on November 24, 1941. Many Jews from Czechoslovakia were deported to Terezín. In the summer of 1942 the non-Jewish population of Theresienstadt expelled. Under the new population were many artists, musicians and lawyers. The result is a busy cultural life in the ghetto. The camp housed, in addition to adults, including some 11,000 children.

The Jewish ghetto population had a degree of self-government: the council of elders. These include council had the task to draw up lists of who would be deported and who not. They refused to cooperate with the Germans, they would simply be deported and murdered all the inhabitants. Meanwhile, the living conditions in Theresienstadt getting worse. Where previously some 7,000 Czechoslovaks had lived, were now housed 50,000 people. There was little food and died there in 1942 alone some 16,000 residents. Residents who oppose the Germans, or otherwise did something that according to the Germans could not pass muster, came into the "small fort" (prison) go, where living conditions were even worse.

Terezin consentration camp

From November 1941 to April 1945, approximately 144,000 Jews were deported to Theresienstadt, 33,000 of them died in the city itself to privation, disease, torture or execution. 88,000 Jews were deported from Theresienstadt to extermination camps (especially Auschwitz and Treblinka). During the liberation were 19,000 prisoners in life. Of the deported Jews in the extermination camps were only 3000 survived. Of the 10,500 children in the ghetto would be a paltry 142 survive the war. Much of the prisoners was executed just before the Allies liberated Theresienstadt, and dumped in mass graves. They were reburied after the war alongside the fortress.

  • Last visit to Terezin: May 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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