Unimaginable

Trip Start Feb 22, 2013
1
8
13
Trip End Mar 05, 2013


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What I did
Terezin Concentration Camp

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today we left Dresden and headed toward Prague. We drove through Terezin which was turned into a Ghetto and the toured the "Small Fortress" where the Jews who broke the rule of the ghetto were sent. I can't really write about this experience except to say that there is an endless pit in my stomach and I want to hug my kids so badly right now.

A woman in my group has told me about a book of children's art for Terezin and as we were leaving I just happened to see a small door that was a bookstore. They had the book with the Art the was hidden in the walls of the Ghetto and later recovered. I also found a book about the secret magazine published by the young boys of Terezin. The triumph of the human spirit just amazes me. I am hoping that reading these books will help settle my emotions from today's visit.

Here are some facts:

Approximately 144,000 Jews were sent to Terezin. Most inmates were Czech Jews. Some 40,000 originated from Germany, 15,000 from Austria, 5,000 from the Netherlands and 300 from Luxembourg. In addition to the group of approx. 500 Jews from Denmark, also Slovak and Hungarian Jews were deported to the ghetto. Some 1,600 Jewish children from Białystok, Poland, were deported to Auschwitz from Theresienstadt; none survived. About a quarter of the inmates (33,000) died here, mostly because of the deadly conditions (hunger, stress, and disease, especially the typhus epidemic at the very end of war). About 88,000 were deported to Auschwitz and other extermination camps including Treblinka. 

 At the end of the war, there were 17,247 remaining. 15,000 children lived in the ghetto; Willy Groag, one of the youth care workers, mistakenly claimed after the war that only 93 survived.[28] However, 242 children younger than 15 survived deportation from Terezín to the East, and 1566 children survived in the ghetto proper.
 
Small Fortress was part of the fortification on the left side of river Ohře. Beginning in 1940, the Gestapo used it as a prison (the largest one in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia). It was separate and unrelated to the Jewish ghetto in the main fortress on the river's right side. Around 32,000 people arrived there and were usually sent to a concentration camp later. 2,600 people were executed, starved, or succumbed to disease there.

Of the 15,000 children sent there, no more than 1,000 survived, and the number may be as low as 100. 




 
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