Czech Republic: Terezin Concentration Camp Memorial
Between 1938 and 1945, more then 150 thousand prisoners passed through Nazi-SS-operated concentration camp of Theresienstadt aka Terezin, around 97% being Jewish (mostly Czech, but also German, Dutch, and Polish). While this was not an extermination camp – the living conditions, density, hard labor, and diseases killed more then 33,000 people at Terezin. Another 88,000 were shipped to Auschwitz and Treblinka camps for extermination. The memorial preserves the fortress in which the inmates were held, as well as Nazi command quarters. “Albeit Mach Frei” – “Work Makes You Free” – is written in big black-on-white letters at the entrance to the prison and its crammed barracks. Outside, a large memorial and a cemetery lies as a stark and austere visual reminder of all the atrocities that happened here. I am kind of struggling for words to describe all this, but it’s quite overwhelming to witness.