There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

06 January 2013

entering Theresienstadt & the Muzeum Ghetta

A chill settles upon us as we enter the town of Terezin and approach the first buildings of the Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. Our guide Sylvie is reading off the statistics of the horrors here as the wheels of our tour van slowly grind forward on the frozen gravel outside.

Approximately 150,000 people went through Terezin, with estimations around 10% of those survived.
15,000 children were in the Nazi transit camp, 8,000 killed.
At any one time, around 60,000 people were in the Terezin fortress that was about a square mile in total area.

We pass a dormitory, the old facade slowly crumbling. Behind the large wooden doors vast numbers of the elderly were herded into the attic to live, and ultimately freeze to death.




















In the city centre of today, we stop and exit the van. Before us is the former dormitory for both the boys and girls of Terezin. Today it is the Muzeum Ghetta, and our first stop of the day.

















We start by watching a thirty minute film about the history of this place, including some Nazi propaganda footage meant to entice Jewish people about the benefits of living in Terezin, what they referred to as the Paradise Ghetto.

After the film, we explore the museum, walking into rooms where the children were housed between 1941-1945. Memorabilia from old photos, passports, and luggage are haunting reminders of the sacred nature of this place.






















The artwork by one special little girl on display is heartbreakingly beautiful, but I will speak more of that in a later writing....
I need fresh air, and leave the museum to the bitter December air outside. I walk the solemn streets with salty tears slowly freezing on red cheeks....
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