Coordinates : 50°30′48″N 14°10′1″E / 50.51333°N
14.16694°E / 50.51333; 14.16694 Theresienstadt concentration
camp archway with the phrase
Arbeit macht frei
Arbeit macht frei (work makes (you)
free), placed over the entrance in a number of Nazi concentration
camps Location of
Terezín within the modern
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THERESIENSTADT CONCENTRATION CAMP, also referred to as THERESIENSTADT
GHETTO, was a concentration camp established by the SS during World
War II in the garrison city of
Terezín (German: Theresienstadt),
German-occupied Czechoslovakia .
Tens of thousands of people died there, some killed outright and
others dying from malnutrition and disease. More than 150,000 other
persons (including tens of thousands of children) were held there for
months or years, before being sent by rail transports to their deaths
Auschwitz extermination camps in occupied Poland , as
well as to smaller camps elsewhere.
* 1 History
* 2 Small Fortress
* 3 Main fortress
* 4 Command and control authority
* 5 Internal organisation
* 6 Industrial labour
* 7 Western European Jews arrive at camp
* 8 Improvements made by inmates
* 9 Unequal treatment of prisoners
* 10 Cultural activities and legacy
* 11 Use as propaganda tool
* 12 Statistics
* 12.1 Allied prisoners of war
* 13 Notable prisoners who died at the camp
* 14 Notable survivors
* 15 Final months at the camp in 1945
* 16 Postwar trials
* 17 Works about Theresienstadt
* 17.1 Documentary films
* 17.2 Dramatic films
* 17.3 Plays
* 17.4 Music
* 17.5 Literature
* 18 See also
* 19 Notes
* 20 References
* 21 Further reading
* 22 External links
The fortress of Theresienstadt in the north-west region of Bohemia
was constructed between the years 1780 and 1790 on the orders of the
Austrian emperor Joseph II . It was designed as part of a projected
but never fully realised fort system of the monarchy, another piece
being the fort of Josefov . Theresienstadt was named for the mother of
Maria Theresa of Austria, who reigned as archduchess of
Austria in her own right from 1740 until 1780. By the end of the 19th
century, the facility was obsolete as a fort; in the 20th century, the
fort was used to accommodate military and political prisoners.
From 1914 until 1918,
Gavrilo Princip was imprisoned here, after his
conviction for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of
Austria and his wife on June 28, 1914, a catalyst for
World War I
World War I .
Princip died in Cell Number 1 from tuberculosis on April 28, 1918.
After Germany invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia , on June 10, 1940,
Gestapo took control of
Terezín and set up a prison in the "Small
Fortress" (kleine Festung, the town citadel on the east side of the
Ohře river). The first inmates arrived June 14. By the end of the
war, the small fortress had processed more than 32,000 prisoners, of
whom 5,000 were female; they were imprisoned for varying sentences.
The prisoners were predominantly Czech at first, and later other
nationalities were imprisoned there, including citizens of the Soviet
Union, Poland, Germany, and Yugoslavia. Most were political prisoners.
By November 24, 1941, the Nazis adapted the "Main Fortress" (große
Festung, i.e. the walled town of Theresienstadt), located on the west
side of the river, as a ghetto . Jewish survivors have recounted the
extensive work they had to do for more than a year in the camp, to try
to provide basic facilities for the tens of thousands of people who
came to be housed there.
From 1942, the Nazis interned the Jews of
Bohemia and Moravia,
elderly Jews and persons of "special merit" in the Reich, and several
thousand Jews from the Netherlands and Denmark. Theresienstadt
thereafter became known as the destination for the Altentransporte
("elderly transports") of German Jews, older than 65. Although in
practice the ghetto, run by the SS, served as a transit camp for Jews
en route to extermination camps, it was also presented as a "model
Jewish settlement" for propaganda purposes.
On November 11, 1943, commandant
Anton Burger ordered the entire camp
population, approximately 40,000 people at that time, to stand in
freezing weather during a camp census (sometimes referred to as the
"Bohušovicer Kessel Census"). About 300 prisoners died of hypothermia
as a result.
During a 1944
Red Cross visit, and in a propaganda film, the Nazis
presented Theresienstadt to outsiders as a model Jewish settlement,
but it was a concentration camp . More than 33,000 inmates died as a
result of malnutrition, disease, or the sadistic treatment by their
captors. Whereas some survivors claimed that the prison population
reached 75,000 at one time, according to official records, the highest
figure reached (on September 18, 1942) was 58,491. They were crowded
into barracks designed to accommodate 7,000 combat troops.
In the autumn of 1944, the Nazis began the liquidation of the ghetto,
deporting more prisoners to
Auschwitz and other camps; in one month,
they deported 24,000 victims (about 18,000 in 11 transports between
September 28 and October 28).
The "Small Fortress" (Malá pevnost in Czech, Kleine Festung in
German) was part of the fortification on the left side of the river
Ohře . Beginning in 1940, the
Gestapo used it as a prison, the
largest in the Protectorate of
Bohemia and Moravia . The first inmates
arrived on June 14, 1940. By the end of the war, 32,000 prisoners, of
whom 5,000 were female, passed through the Small Fortress. It was
separate from and unrelated to the Jewish ghetto in the main fortress
on the river's right side. An estimated 32,000 people were taken to
the prison; most were usually deported later to a concentration camp.
In the spring of 1942, the Nazis expelled the 7,000 non-Jewish Czechs
living in Terezín, and closed off the town. The Nazis established the
ghetto and concentration camp in the main fortress on the east side of
Siegfried Seidl served as the first camp
commandant, beginning in 1941. Seidl oversaw the labour of 342 Jewish
artisans and carpenters, known as the Aufbaukommando, who converted
the fortress into a concentration camp. Although the Aufbaukommando
were promised that they and their families would be spared transport,
during the liquidation of the camp in September 1944, all were
Sonderbehandlung , or "special
treatment", i.e. immediate gassing of all upon arrival.
COMMAND AND CONTROL AUTHORITY
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The camp, Theresienstadt/Terezin, was a hybrid of ghetto and
concentration camp, (KZ), with features of both. It was established by
order of the
SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) in 1941 and
administered by its GESTAPO Amt of the RSHA, Department IV-B-4,
(Jews), headed by Eichmann who oversaw the ghetto and its
SS-Commandant; he, in turn, was in charge of the daily ghetto
administration, the SS officers, about 12, and the Czech gendarmes,
who collaborated with the Germans; these last two were in charge of
security and guard duties. An internal police force, run by Jewish
inmates, answered directly to the Jewish self-administration and
indirectly to the SS-commandant. Thus was the organisation responsible
for the enslavement, deportation, and murder of the Jews.
Theresienstadt was also the only KZ excluded from the control of
SS-Wirtschafthauptamt (main economic administration office) under Pohl
and was classified as "concentration camp, class 4" (mildest).
Furthermore, the SS-men in this ghetto/concentration camp were not
members of the Waffen-SS usually guarding concentration camps, as
reported sometimes. Pohl and the SS-Wirtschafthauptamt were in control
of all concentration camps except Theresienstadt. Stone marking
the burial of ashes of 15,000 victims of
Terezín at the New Jewish
Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst oversaw the day-to-day operations of
the Kleine Festung, (Small Fortress), a prison of the
which was controlled by the 'Higher SS and Police Führer', (HSSPF),
Karl Frank, who reported directly to Himmler rather than the Office of
the Protectorate of
Bohemia and Moravia, a civilian department.
Hauptsturmführer Ernst Möhs (1898–1945) was Eichmann's
liaison-officer in Theresienstadt. During the camp's operations, three
officers served as camp commandant:
Siegfried Seidl ,
Anton Burger ,
Karl Rahm .
As in other European ghettos, the Nazis required the Jews to select a
Jewish Council , which nominally governed the ghetto. In
Theresienstadt, this was known as the "Cultural Council"; later it was
called the "Jewish self-government of Theresienstadt". The first of
the Jewish elders of Theresienstadt was
Jakob Edelstein , a
Polish-born Zionist and former head of the
Prague Jewish community. He
served until 1943, when he was deported to
Auschwitz and shot to death
after being forced to watch the executions of his wife and son. The
second was Paul Eppstein (de), a sociologist originally from Mannheim
, Germany. Earlier, Eppstein was the speaker of the Reichsvereinigung
der Juden in Deutschland , the central organisation of Jews in Nazi
Germany. He served until the autumn of 1944, when he was allegedly
shot in the Small Fortress on
Yom Kippur .
Benjamin Murmelstein , a
Lvov -born rabbi from Vienna, had been part
of the Cultural Council in Vienna after the
Anschluss . As in other
cities, the Jews were charged by the Nazis with organising actions in
the Jewish community, including selection of people for transport when
the Germans decided to deport them, beginning in 1942. Murmelstein was
also deported to Theresienstadt. In the autumn of 1944, he succeeded
Eppstein. He and other prominent Jews of the Cultural Council were
Auschwitz in the liquidation of the ghetto, but he and
some others survived the war. He and other Jewish elders have been
extremely controversial figures, condemned for years for what was seen
as their collaboration with the Nazis.
In the 21st century, there has been some reassessment, given the
conditions of the times.
The Last of the Unjust , released in 2013, is
a documentary centring on interviews with Murmelstein that were filmed
Claude Lanzmann in 1975, during the production of his masterwork
Shoah . The interviews were not used in the earlier film.
In the last days of the ghetto, Jiří Vogel of
Prague served as the
elder. From 1943 to 1945,
Leo Baeck was the speaker of the Council of
Elders of Theresienstadt. Before being deported to the camp from
Berlin, he had served as the head of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden
in Deutschland. He survived Theresienstadt, and emigrated to London
after the war.
Theresienstadt was used to supply the German war effort with a source
of Jewish slave labour. Their major contribution was the splitting of
local ore mined from Czechoslovakian mica . Blind prisoners were often
spared deportation by assignment to this task. Others manufactured
boxes or coffins, or sprayed military uniforms with a white dye to
provide camouflage for German soldiers on the Russian front. According
to ex-prisoners, Theresienstadt was also a sorting and re-distribution
centre for underwear and clothing confiscated from Jews:
... from all parts of Germany, the baggage taken away from the Jews
was sent to Theresienstadt, and there it was packaged, sorted-out in
order to be sent out all over the country, to various cities, for the
people who were bombed-out and suffered a shortage of underwear and
WESTERN EUROPEAN JEWS ARRIVE AT CAMP
Among the western European Jews deported to the camp were 456 Jews
from Denmark, sent to Theresienstadt in 1943. They had not been able
to escape to neutral Sweden before the Nazis started the deportation.
Included also in the transports were European Jewish children whom
Danish organisations had tried to conceal in foster homes.
The arrival of the Danes was significant, as their government gained
access to the ghetto for the
International Red Cross
International Red Cross in 1944, to view
conditions there. (This took place after the
D-Day Invasion of
Normandy by the Allies). Most European governments, when occupied by
the Nazis, had not tried to protect their fellow Jewish citizens.
Historians believe the Germans were trying to keep the Danes satisfied
as they had impressed many of their workers in war factories. In
addition, the tide of war was changing.
IMPROVEMENTS MADE BY INMATES
Survivor Friedrich Schlaefrig described in 1946 how the early
residents of Theresienstadt, with the assistance of the Germans,
overcame the lack of water to the town:
We had no water system in Theresienstadt ... a number of wells were
contaminated in a short time with typhoid fever . That was the reason
that we had to close a number of wells, and had to undertake to extend
the existing water pipe system. That was really a great piece of
public works created under Jewish inventiveness and by Jewish labor.
They expanded the water supply system, and have achieved that we not
only produced for the people good drinking water or, at least, not
objectionable drinking water, but that also the toilet installations
could be flushed with water, so that these unhygienic conditions were
removed ... The Germans have permitted it, and we even obtained
through them the material, because otherwise it would have been
After this, a fire department was established, made up of Jewish
prisoners, with an acting fire chief. They relied on the newly
constructed water system. Constructing the water system was only part
of the major work undertaken by Jews, in what was called the technical
service, in the first year of the camp. They had to make many more
changes to buildings to adapt the fortress and barracks for the
overcrowded conditions that the Germans imposed.
UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF PRISONERS
After the changes and sprucing up to prepare for the
Red Cross visit,
in the spring of 1944, the
Gestapo screened the Jews of
Theresienstadt, classifying them according to social prominence. Many
of the "Prominente" were profiled, with photographs, among a
collection of documents smuggled out after the liberation. The
Gestapo reassigned some 150 to 200 prominent individuals to single
rooms that would be shared by only two people, so that a husband and
wife could live by themselves. Several members of the Cultural Council
were included among the Prominente, due to the influence of Benjamin
Murmelstein , then the "Jewish elder" of Theresienstadt. Former
prisoners suggested in statements that those who held positions of
authority practised nepotism , trying to protect individuals close to
them, while struggling to avoid deportation and death in the closing
days of the war. Murmelstein and other members of the Cultural Council
were still deported in the final liquidation, but he and some others
survived the war.
CULTURAL ACTIVITIES AND LEGACY
Theresienstadt was originally designated as a model community for
middle-class Jews from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. Many
educated Jews were inmates of Theresienstadt. In a propaganda effort
designed to fool the western allies, the Nazis publicised the camp for
its rich cultural life. In reality, according to a Holocaust survivor,
"during the early period there were no instruments whatsoever, and
the cultural life came to develop itself only ... when the whole
management of Theresienstadt was steered into an organized course."
An extremely rich cultural life then ensued, with lectures, recitals,
poetry readings, concerts, and so on. At least four concert orchestras
were organised in the camp, as well as chamber groups and jazz
ensembles. Several stage performances were produced and attended by
camp inmates. Many prominent artists from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and
Germany were imprisoned at Theresienstadt, along with writers,
scientists, jurists, diplomats, musicians, and scholars, and many of
these contributed to the camp's cultural life.
The community in Theresienstadt tried to ensure that all the children
who passed through the camp continued with their education. The Nazis
required all camp children over a certain age to work, but accepted
working on stage as employment. The prisoners achieved the children's
education under the guise of work or cultural activity. Daily classes
and sports activities were held. The community published a magazine,
Vedem . The history of the magazine was studied and narrated by the
Matteo Corradini in his book "La repubblica delle
farfalle" (The Republic of the Butterflies"). The English actor Sir
Ben Kingsley read that novel, speaking on January 27, 2015 during the
ceremony held at Theresienstadt to mark International Holocaust
Memorial Day .
Ilse Weber , a noted Czech Jewish poet, writer and musician for
children, was held in the camp from February 1942, and worked as a
night nurse in the camp's children's infirmary. She volunteered to
join a transport of children to
Auschwitz in November 1944, where she,
her son Tommy, and all the children with her were murdered in the gas
chambers immediately on arrival.
Rafael Schächter was among those held at the camp, and
he formed an adult chorus. He directed it in a performance of the
massive and complex Requiem by
Giuseppe Verdi . Schächter conducted
15 more performances of the work before he was deported to
Violinist Julius Stwertka, a former leading member of the Boston
Symphony Orchestra and co-leader of the
Vienna Philharmonic , died in
the camp on December 17, 1942.
Alice Herz-Sommer performed 100 concerts while imprisoned
at Theresienstadt. She and Edith Steiner-Kraus, her friend and
colleague, both survived the camp, emigrated to Israel after the war,
and became professors of music, Herz-Sommer at the Jerusalem Academy
of Music , and Steiner-Kraus at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music. In
March 2012, a biography of Herz-Sommer was published. At the time of
her death in London in February 2014, at 110, she was the oldest known
Holocaust survivor .
Martin Roman and
Coco Schumann were part of the jazz band Ghetto
Artist and art teacher
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis created drawing classes
for children in the ghetto, among whom were
Hana Brady ("Hana's
suitcase"). They produced more than 4,000 drawings, which she hid in
two suitcases before she was deported to
Auschwitz in the final
liquidation. The collection was preserved from destruction, and was
discovered a decade later. Most of these drawings can now be seen at
The Jewish Museum in
Prague , whose archive of the Holocaust section
Terezín Archive Collection. Others are on display at
Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
The children of the camp also wrote stories and poems. Some were
preserved and later published in a collection called I Never Saw
Another Butterfly , its title taken from a poem by young Jewish Czech
Pavel Friedman . He had arrived at
Terezín on April 26, 1942,
and later died at Auschwitz.
Malva Schalek (Malvina Schalkova) was deported to
Theresienstadt in February 1942. She produced more than 100 drawings
and watercolours portraying life in the camp. On May 18, 1944, because
of her refusal to paint the portrait of a collaborationist doctor, she
was deported to Auschwitz, where she was killed.
The artist and architect
Norbert Troller produced drawings and
watercolours of life inside Theresienstadt, to be smuggled to the
outside world. When the
Gestapo found out, he was arrested and
deported to Auschwitz. His memoirs and two dozen of his artworks were
published in 1991.
Viktor Ullmann was interned in September 1942, and died
Auschwitz in October 1944. He composed some twenty works at
Theresienstadt, including the one-act opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis
(The Emperor of Atlantis or The Refusal of Death). It was planned for
performance at the camp, but the Nazis withdrew permission when it was
in rehearsal, probably because the authorities perceived its
allegorical intent. The opera was first performed in 1975, and shown
in full on
BBC television in Britain. It continues to be performed.
Music composed by inmates is featured in Terezín: The Music
1941–44 , a two-CD set released in 1991. The collection features
music composed mostly in 1943 and 1944 by
Pavel Haas ,
Gideon Klein ,
Hans Krása , and
Viktor Ullmann while interned at Theresienstadt.
Haas, Krása, and Ullmann died in
Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp in
1944, and Klein died in Fürstengrube in 1945.
In 2007, the album
Terezín – Theresienstadt of music composed at
Theresienstadt was released by the Swedish singer Anne Sofie von Otter
, assisted by baritone
Christian Gerhaher , pianists, and chamber
musicians. In 2008,
Bridge Records released a recital by Austrian
Wolfgang Holzmair and American pianist Russell Ryan that drew
on a different selection of songs.
USE AS PROPAGANDA TOOL
Cell Main article:
Late in the war, after D-Day and the invasion of Normandy, the Nazis
permitted representatives from the Danish
Red Cross and the
International Red Cross
International Red Cross to visit Theresienstadt in order to dispel
rumours about the extermination camps. The commission that visited on
June 23, 1944, included E. Juel-Henningsen, the head physician at the
Danish Ministry of Health, and Franz Hvass, the top civil servant at
the Danish Foreign Ministry. Dr. Paul Eppstein was instructed by the
SS to appear in the role of the mayor of Theresienstadt.
Weeks of preparation preceded the visit. The area was cleaned up, and
the Nazis deported many Jews to
Auschwitz to minimise the appearance
of overcrowding in Theresienstadt. Also deported in these actions were
most of the Czechoslovak workers assigned to "Operation
Embellishment". The Nazis directed the building of fake shops and
cafés to imply that the Jews lived in relative comfort.
The Danes whom the
Red Cross visited lived in freshly painted rooms,
not more than three in a room. Rooms viewed may have included the
homes of the "prominent" Jews of Theresienstadt, who were afforded the
special privilege of having as few as two occupants to a room. The
guests attended a performance of a children's opera,
which was written by inmate
Hans Krása .
Red Cross representatives were conducted on a tour following a
predetermined path designated by a red line on a map. The
representatives apparently did not attempt to divert from the tour
route on which they were led by the Germans, who posed questions to
the Jewish residents along the way. If the representatives asked
residents questions directly, they were ignored, in accordance with
the Germans' instructions to the residents prior to the tour. Despite
Red Cross apparently formed a positive impression of the
Following the successful use of Theresienstadt as a supposed model
internment camp during the
Red Cross visit, the Nazis decided to make
a propaganda film there. It was directed by Jewish prisoner Kurt
Gerron , an experienced director and actor; he had appeared with
Marlene Dietrich in
The Blue Angel . Shooting took eleven days,
starting September 1, 1944. After the film was completed, the
director and most of the cast were deported to Auschwitz. Gerron was
murdered by gas chamber on October 28, 1944.
The film was intended to show how well the Jews were living under the
purportedly benevolent protection of the
Third Reich . If taken at
face value, it documents the Jews of Theresienstadt living a
relatively comfortable existence within a thriving cultural centre and
functioning successfully during the hardships of World War II. They
had to comply and perform according to Nazi orders. Often called The
Führer Gives a Village to the Jews, the correct name of the film is
Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet
("Terezin: A Documentary Film of the Jewish Resettlement"). As the
film was not completed until near the end of the war, it was never
distributed as intended, although a few screenings were held. Most of
the film was destroyed, but some footage has survived.
10 Kronen bill shown to the
Red Cross committee. Ex-inmates of
Theresienstadt have described how they each received 50 crowns every
month with which to buy things. Residents working at the camp were
also paid in this currency, a form of truck system . 100
Kronen note from
Theresienstadt concentration camp
Approximately 144,000 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt. Most inmates
were Czech Jews, but 40,000 were from Germany, 15,000 from Austria,
5,000 from the Netherlands, and 300 from
Luxembourg . In addition to
the group of approximately 500 Jews from Denmark, Slovak and Hungarian
Jews were deported to the ghetto. 1,600 Jewish children from
Białystok , Poland, were deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz;
none survived. About a quarter of the inmates (33,000) died in
Theresienstadt, mostly because of the deadly conditions, which
included hunger, stress , and disease. The typhus epidemic at the very
end of war took an especially heavy toll.
About 88,000 prisoners were deported to
Auschwitz and other
extermination camps, including
Treblinka . At the end of the war,
17,247 had survived. An estimated 15,000 children lived in the ghetto.
Willy Groag, one of the youth care workers, mistakenly claimed after
the war that only 93 survived.
ALLIED PRISONERS OF WAR
During the war, Allied prisoners of war (POWs ) who repeatedly
attempted to escape from
POW camps were sent to Theresienstadt as
punishment. 21 British, 21 New Zealand, and 17 Australian POWs were
held there. Keeping POWs from signatory countries of the Geneva
Convention in such camp conditions was a war crime. Many of the
survivors suffered chronic physical and mental health problems for
most of their lives.
In 1964, Germany paid the British government £ 1 million as
reparation for the illegal transfer of British POWs to Theresienstadt.
Britain made no provision for dominion troops. For many years, the
governments of Australia and New Zealand denied that any of their
servicemen had been held at the camp. In 1987, Australian Prime
Bob Hawke established a committee of investigation. It
confirmed that POWs were held at Theresienstadt. The government then
authorised payments of A$ 10,000 each to the Australian survivors of
the camp. The New Zealand government also arranged for compensation
for the New Zealand survivors.
NOTABLE PRISONERS WHO DIED AT THE CAMP
* Esther Adolphine, sister of
Sigmund Freud , died 29 September 1942
* Alice and Hilde Archenhold, wife and daughter of astronomer
Friedrich Simon Archenhold
Eugen Burg , German film actor, died on 17 April 1944
Paul Nikolaus Cossmann , editor of the conservative Süddeutsche
Monatshefte , died 19 October 1942
Ludwig Czech , chairman of the German Social Democratic Party in
pre-war Czechoslovakia and former Czechoslovak minister of Social
Care, Public Affairs and Public Health, died in the ghetto on 20
Robert Desnos , French Surrealist poet, died 8 June 1945
Oskar Fischer , physician, died of a heart attack on 28 February
Alfred Flatow , German Olympic gymnast, 1896 Olympics gold
medallist, died 28 December 1942
Gisela Januszewska , physician, died 2 March 1943
Rudolf Karel , Czech composer, died 6 March 1945
Emil Kolben , Czech industrialist (founder of
ČKD ), one of the
founders of industrial use of electricity, died 3 September 1943
Clementine Krämer , writer and social worker, died 4 November
Friedrich Münzer , German classical scholar, died 20 October 1942
* Margarethe "Trude" Neumann (born 1893), daughter of Theodor Herzl
, died 1943
Auguste van Pels
Auguste van Pels (de), German Jewish refugee who lived in the
Secret Annex with
Anne Frank . (It is believed that she died during an
evacuation transport of prisoners from
Raguhn , a subcamp of
Buchenwald to Theresienstadt), died April 1945
Georg Alexander Pick , Austrian mathematician, creator of Pick\'s
theorem , died 26 July 1942 after two weeks' imprisonment
Ludwig Pick , German pathologist after whom Niemann-Pick disease
and Lubarsch-Pick syndrome are named, died 3 February 1944
Samuel Schallinger , Austrian businessman, co-owner of the
Imperial and the Bristol hotels in Vienna, died 1942
* Margarete Schiff , daughter of psychotherapist
Josef Breuer , died
9 September 1942
Zikmund Schul , composer, died 2 June 1944
* Amalie Seckbach (de) (née Buch), a noted painter and sculptor,
died 10 August 1944
Mathilde Sussin , actress, died 2 August 1943
* Ernestine Taube , mother of the pianist and composer Artur
Schnabel , remained in Vienna after the
Anschluss and at the age of
83, in August 1942, was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp,
where she died two months later.
* Josefine Winter , daughter of Helene and
* Michael Gruenbaum, writer of Somewhere There is Still a Sun
H. G. Adler , German-speaking writer and scholar
Karel Ančerl , Czech conductor
Inge Auerbacher , author of 6 books (including three memoirs about
her experiences in Terezin and recovering after the war), and the
subject of a new play, The Star on My Heart (November 2015)
Yehuda Bacon , Israeli artist
Leo Baeck , German Rabbi
Elsa Bernstein , Austrian-German playwright
Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss , German poet
Emil František Burian , Czech communist playwright, actor,
composer and writer
Ellen Burka , Dutch-Canadian figure skater and coach
Kurt Epstein , Czech Olympic water polo competitor
Viktor Frankl , Austrian neurologist and psychologist
Jaro Fürth , Austrian actor
Richard Glazar and Karel Unger, they were subsequently transferred
Treblinka , from which they ultimately escaped
Alice Herz-Sommer , Czech pianist; the focus of the documentary
The Lady in Number 6 . Died at 110 years old, February 23, 2014,
oldest known survivor of the Holocaust.
* Berthold Jeiteles, scientist, Talmudic scholar, and descendant of
Ivan Klíma , Czech novelist
Egon Lánský , Czech journalist and politician of Slovak origin
Arnošt Lustig , Czech novelist
* Paul Mahrer , professional soccer player, died in 1984 in Santa
* Arnošt Reiser, professor of chemistry, author and inventor
Zuzana Růžičková , Czech harpsichordist
Sam Swaap , Dutch violinist and conductor
* Emil Utitz (de), German-language academic, born in Prague
* Ela Weissberger, the Cat in
Brundibár , who still performs the
opera in schools around the world in memory of the children who did
FINAL MONTHS AT THE CAMP IN 1945
On February 5, 1945, SS chief
Heinrich Himmler allowed a transport of
1,210 Jews, most of them from the Netherlands, from Theresienstadt to
freedom in neutral Switzerland. Himmler and
Jean-Marie Musy , a
pro-Nazi former Swiss president, had arranged the transport. Jewish
organisations working in Switzerland deposited a ransom of $1.25
million in Swiss banks for the Germans.
As the war turned against Nazi Germany, the Danish king Christian X
secured the release of the Danish internees from Theresienstadt on
April 15, 1945. The
White Buses , organised in cooperation with the
Swedish Red Cross, collected the 413 who had survived and took them
In April 1945, after the Dutch Jews had been transported to
International Red Cross
International Red Cross visited the camp twice. The
relief agency took over administration of the camp on May 2, 1945, as
Soviet troops approached from the east. Commandant Rahm and the rest
of the SS fled on May 5 and 6. On May 8, 1945,
Terezín was liberated
by Soviet troops.
* The first commandant of the camp, Captain
Siegfried Seidl , was
assigned to the
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after leaving
Theresienstadt, and later served as a staff officer with Adolf
Eichmann during the slaughter of Hungary's 600,000 Jews. After the
war, he was convicted of war crimes by the Volksgericht, the Austrian
People's Court established to prosecute Nazi war crimes, and executed
on February 4, 1947.
* The camp's second commandant,
Anton Burger , was tried in absentia
by a Czech court in
Litoměřice and sentenced to death in 1947.
However, Burger escaped in June before the sentence could be carried
out. He was arrested again in 1951 and escaped a second time. He
eventually settled in
Essen , where he lived under a false name until
his death in December 1991.
* The camp's third commandant,
Karl Rahm , was captured by American
forces in Austria and extradited to Czechoslovakia in 1947. On April
30, 1947, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity in a Czech
court, and executed four hours later.
* The Czech gendarmerie commander, Theodor Janecek , died in prison
in 1946 while awaiting trial.
* A Czech court in
Litoměřice found Miroslaus Hasenkopf, a camp
perimeter guard, guilty of treason and sentenced him to 15 years
imprisonment. Hasenkopf died in prison in 1951.
Anton Malloth , a prison guard at the Small Fortress, was arrested
on May 25, 2000—over half a century after the war ended. He was
convicted in 2001 of beating at least 100 prisoners to death, and
sentenced to life imprisonment.
WORKS ABOUT THERESIENSTADT
* Where Death Wears a Smile (1985). Produced by Australian
journalist Paul Rea , the film alleges that dozens of Allied POWs were
murdered at Terezín, where they had been illegally held. These claims
were refuted by Alexander McClelland, an Australian veteran and former
prisoner at the Small Fortress, in his book The Answer – Justice.
Paradise Camp (1986)
Voices of the Children (1997), American, made for television
A Story about a Bad Dream (2000)
Prisoner of Paradise (2002)
* Defiant Requiem: Voices of Resistance (2013). Film of a
multi-media concert-drama performance in New York City; broadcast on
The Last of the Unjust (2013) directed by
Claude Lanzmann , about
Benjamin Murmelstein , a surviving elder of Theresienstadt
* Berlin Calling (2013), follows a second generation Holocaust
survivor who retraces her father's footsteps to Theresienstadt;
The Lady in Number 6 : Music Saved My Life (2014), the story of
Transport from Paradise (Transport z Raje) (1962), Czech
* Holocaust (1978), television mini-series
War and Remembrance (1988), television mini-series; part of the
Winds of War adaptation
* The Last Butterfly (Poslední motýl) (1991), in Czech and
English, dubbed, with actor
* Dreams of Beating Time (1994), by
Roy Kift . Concerns the
classical musicians in Terezín, most especially the conductor Kurt
Singer, and the parallel career of Wilhelm Fürtwängler in Germany.
* Camp Comedy (1998), by Roy Kift. The play deals with the dilemma
of the German cabaret star
Kurt Gerron who was "requested" by the
Nazis to make a documentary film about the "sweet lives" of the Jewish
inmates in the camp. It contains original songs and texts from the
Karussell cabaret. It premiered in Legnica (Liegnitz), Poland, in
September 2012 under the title Komedia Obozowa, and was subsequently
invited to the annual Warsaw Theatre Meeting in 2013. It won the
Broken Barrier award as the best play at the 24th "Without Borders"
Theatre Festival in Cieszyn, Poland, and Cieszyn, Czech Republic, in
the same year.
* Way to Heaven (Himmelweg) (2005), by
Juan Mayorga , an
award-winning Spanish playwright; inspired by the visit of the Red
Cross to Theresienstadt. The play has been produced worldwide.
* Signs of Life (2010), a musical drama with book by Peter Ullian,
lyrics by Len Schiff, and music by
Joel Derfner . First developed in
2003 as Terezin, it had concert performances in New York and workshops
in Seattle. Debuting
Off-Broadway as Signs of Life in 2010, it has
also played in the
Czech Republic and in Chicago.
I Never Saw Another Butterfly by
Oratorio Terezin (2003). Canadian musician Ruth Fazal composed
this full-length production scored for orchestra, children's choir,
adult choir, and three vocal soloists. The oratorio is based on
children's poetry from Terezín, combined with passages from the
Hebrew scriptures . It premiered in Toronto, and subsequently visited
concert halls in Prague, Brno, Vienna, and Bratislava, and toured
Israel. It was the main cultural event of
Holocaust Memorial Day in
Tel Aviv in 2005.
Terezín – Theresienstadt , 2008 album by Swedish mezzo-soprano
Anne Sofie von Otter
Anne Sofie von Otter
* Somewhere There is Still a Sun (2015) Gruenbaum, Michael, with
* Austerlitz (2001),
W. G. Sebald
* Eine Reise (1962),
H. G. Adler , The Journey (2008), translated by
* Theresienstadter Bilderbogen (1942), by
H. G. Adler
* Holocaust: Theresienstadt requiem (1965), by Joseph Bohr
War and Remembrance (1978) by
Herman Wouk ; several chapters
follow the Jewish characters of Aaron Jastrow and his niece, Natalie
Henry, when they are held in Theresienstadt.
* List of
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
List of victims of Nazism
List of victims of Nazism
Pinkas Synagogue , Prague
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to THERESIENSTADT CONCENTRATION
* Terezin concentration camp, official website
* "Theresienstadt", About the