Terezin Tourist Attractions
Terezin was established in the late 18th Century but is more well known for its 20th Century history. During World War II the Nazi's forced the residents to leave in order to turn the town into a ghetto camp. Jews were brought to Terezin from throughout Europe, many of whom died here. Terezin was primarily a transfer station from which Jews would be sent out to concentration camps. The 18th Century garrison here was used by the Nazi's as a prison for political rivals.From the spring of 1942 until the fall of that same year the population of the ghetto rose from just under 13,000 to close to 60,000. The result was a densely populated area with confined spaces, which lead to starvation and disease. Conditions here were atrocious. The main sights for visitors are the Ghetto Museum, the Magdeburg Barracks and the Small Fortress. Touring these facilities will provide some insight into what went on here.Terezin is only an hour's drive north of Prague and can be easily visited on a day trip from the city.
The Small Fortress (Mala pevnost) at Terezin is outside of the town on the east bank of the River Ohre. It was built in 1780 as a prison, which it was used as until after the Second World War. During World War II the German SS used the Small Fortress to imprison political opponents, prisoners of war, and basically anyone opposed to, or caught committing acts against, the Nazi Regime. This included Jews who, if sent to the Small Fortress, were subjected to hard work and torment by the Nazi guards. Approximately 250 to 300 prisoners were executed here.After the end of the war, the Small Fortress was used to contain German war criminals. The building opposite the Commandant's quarters served at one point as the barracks for the SS guards and later as the barracks for the police guarding the German war criminals. The building was labeled a Memorial of National Suffering by the Czech government and is now a museum.
The Magdeburg Barracks (Magdeburska Kasarna) in Terezin were the administration offices of the ghetto camp during World War II. The exhibit here offers information on the everyday life and cultural activities in the ghetto. It discuses the artists, musicians, and writers, and displays some of their accomplishments at Terezin. The Germans did allow cultural events and art in Terezin and even in concentration camps. Artwork was censored and drawings depicting anything related to the horrors of camp life was forbidden. Nonetheless, many did produce pictures of the reality of life in the ghetto despite the risks associated with such action. Some of these drawings survive and are on display at the Magdebur Barracks, portraying the situation in the densely populated camp, the cramped quarters, and the horrors associated with life here.
Ghetto Museum and Memorial
The Terezin Ghetto Museum (Muzeum ghetta) offers information on the history of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II and is also a moving memorial to the many children who were brought to the ghetto. Drawings made by children who died in Terezin are displayed on the walls.The Ghetto Museum also shows a video with segments taken from Nazi propaganda films that portrayed Terezin in a much different light than the reality of what was happening here. On lookers at the time, including the Red Cross, where fooled by these efforts. The museum also talks about the suffering of the Jews at Terezin.
Terezin Pictures View All