Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day 6: Terezin

Today we visited Terezin Concentration Camp today in Terezin.  This was the site where prisoners were placed before being sent to the Extermination Camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka.  The camp was associated with the town of Terezin which is a fortressed town built by the Austria-Hungarian Empire in the late 18th Century.  The camp was also originally built as a fort by the Austria-Hungarian during this time period to halt Prussian advances which never happened.  The camp eventually became a prison and was the site where Garvilo Princip, the assassin who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and almost single-handedly began World War I, was imprisoned and the site where he died.  The Nazis used both the town and prison during the Holocaust.  The town was used as the ghetto which was where many of the Jews resided and was masked to the outside as a spa town for the Jewish people.  The prison was used for those who didn't obey in the town or were sent there for other reasons as well.  There were a couple thousand who died at the camp, but many died of old age or disease, while a vast majority of those who stayed at Terezin eventually were killed when they arrived at their next stop.  The town, which held 40,000 Jews at its peak is currently home to 2,000 residents and the Ghetto Museum.  It was a very interesting day.  This will probably be my last post until Monday as we are travelling by train to Dresden and then we are going to Leiden in the Netherlands after that.

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