Today we went to Terezín and learned about the concentration camp and the Jewish ghetto during WWII. This was the day I was most excited if you can be excited about a concentration camp because I find WWII and Nazi Germany very fascinating. When we first got there after an hour bus ride we went to the concentration camp and got a tour of it. Terezín isn’t fully considered a concentration camp because the Jews weren’t purposely killed. Most where only in Terezín for a while then shipped of to another camp. We saw how the Jewish people and criminals were treated when they first arrived and what they had to go through in order to be admitted. We then went to see the type of room a group would live in. In one small room 90 people would live on a three level bunk bed and the rest would sleep on the floor. The conditions were terrible and most died of disease. After seeing the communal rooms we went and saw the solitary cells. Half of them didn’t have a window so you had no concept of time and would eventually drive yourself mad in the blackness. For the few that got out of the solitary sells most were blind and insane when they did come out. After the solitary cells we went and saw where prisoners were given their death sentence and watched a propaganda video that Jews where forced to watch when they entered the camp.
After the concentration camp we went too two separate museums. One mainly displayed children’s artwork from that time that proved either what life was like in that time or what they thought was on the outside. In Terezín the adults tried to give the children as good of a life as possible to distract them from what was actually going on. This museum also had a lot of random things from the time period like different arm bands that the people in the ghettos had to wear to distinguish themselves and small personal belongings of the Jewish people in Terezín. The second museum showed how life was in the ghetto and what the living conditions where like. We saw a room that was set up to be like a bedroom of a group of women during that time. We also saw different artwork and got short descriptions of artists who where forced into the concentration camps and the ghettos during WWII.
After the two museums we went to see the crematorium where all of the bodies from the concentration camp where burned and turned into ashes. This was definitely the hardest part for me because it brought everything into perspective. We saw the machines the wheeled carts of bodies through to burn them as well as where they stored the bodies until they where ready and where they peeped them. They also had a small museum like room where you could read more about it and see a scale model of Terezín made by prisoners in the concentration camp. Today was very interesting and definitely brought into perspective how horrible the Nazi occupation was. It’s one thing to hear or read about it but it’s completely different once you see it.