Terezín, the first stop to hell


Terezín (known also as Theresienstadt = City of Theresa) is very depressive place. Even somebody who doesn´t know anything about its tragical role during the WW II would not probably find it very appealing.

Terezín was founded by the Austrian emperor Josef II. and named in honour of his mother, the empress Maria Theresa in the late 18.century. It is a typical military fort of those times - large and massive, made of red bricks and surrounded by moats. The main purpose of Terezín fortress was to protect northern borders of Czech kindgom (which belonged to Austrian empire in that time). The City is consists of two independet forts divided by the Ohře river. The Lesser Fortress was from the very beginning of its existence used as a prison for political and military prisoners. The Main Fort, which is actually the town itself has a large square around which is a net of regular streets with one storey houses. Except of these living quarters there are also other buildings there: several barracks, former hospital, bakery, brewery and various storages. Terezín was built as an self catering military fort completely independent on its neibourhood.

Once a military town experienced very sad story during the Nazi occupation of our country. Germans decided to turn it into so called Jewish Ghetto Theresienstadt - a transit camp for Jews. Starting in November 1941 there were Jewish transports from the whole country (later also from abroad) coming regulary to Terezín. Among them old people and thousends of children. Most of these Jewish prisoners ended sooner or later in Auschwitz and other extermination camps.

The first transports sent there were formed by young men from Prague. One of those guys was my uncle Egon. He was only 21 and freshly in love. He was unhappy that he had to leave his girlfriend Líba in Prague. He loved her very much, she was beautiful, kind and good hearted. But he didn´t know yet that Líba was also very courageous. She didn´t hesite any minute when Egon´s sister Erna,who was still staying at home in Prague, asked her for help. She helped her and save her life. And not only that. That´s why, much much later Líba became one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

Would you like to know the whole story of Egon and Líba? Book my Terezín tour: Countryside trips