Terezín is a fortress built by the Enlightenment ruler Josef II and although the building named after his mother Maria Theresa was supposed to be used for defence, it paradoxically became infamous first of all as a prison, and later during World War Two as a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp. You can also visit the Terezín Monument dedicated to the victims of the holocaust and pay your tribute at the monument to people’s indefatigable bravery and the will to live.
The Terezín monument includes a whole complex of buildings spreading out on both sides of the River Ohra. Its main parts are made up of the Small and Big Fortress built according to a design from the famous school in the French town of Mezières. The dark history of Terezín falls especially in the period of World War Two. The daily suffering and inhumane conditions for the lives of the tens of thousands of Jews who were deported here is evident every step of the way. Walk past the former accommodation quarters, the famous chapel in the Magdeburg barracks, the Columbarium with its ceremonial rooms or the Ghetto Museum. The monument plaques and cemeteries in the areas around Terezín commemorate the sad stories of those who were imprisoned here.
Hope does not die in Terezín
Although a large part of the Jewish community suspected that the cruelty of the Terezín ghetto was merely the beginning, they did not lose hope and fought against their appalling situation, for example, with art. Copious amounts of literary, artistic, musical and theatrical works by the prisoners were preserved here, which can nowadays be viewed during a tour. The four sisters of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, were also deported to Terezín, the philologist professor from Austria Elise Richter and the poet and cabaret performer Walter Lindenbaum. Relatives of the Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky and the recent American presidential candidate John Kerry were also imprisoned here.