THERESIENSTADTchild in Theresienstadt

Theresienstadt, also known as Terezin, was a former army barrack in what is now the Czech Republic that the Nazis used as transit camp to the killing centers and concentration camps in Poland and the Baltic States. It was also a labor camp and a ghetto unlike any other.

Theresienstadt pictureMany of the prisoners were German, Austrian and Czech Jews who had distinguished themselves through military service in WW I, or as artistic and cultural celebrities in those countries.

Those prisoners left behind a haunting legacy of poetry, music, opera, paintings and drawings, many of them by children, that is unique in Holocaust history.

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In 1944, in response to pressure from the International Red Cross to visit the Danish prisoners, the Nazis undertook an elaborate hoax. Thousands of non-Danish prisoners were deported to the East and the camp underwent a beautification. Gardens were planted, barracks were painted, playgrounds were built and cultural events were staged for the visitors. They even went so far as to make a propaganda film, sections of which are seen in The Power of Conscience.

 

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