Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Terezin- The Model Camp

Terezin- The Earth is Soaked with Blood

Terezin- These Walls Bear Witness

Terezin- A Walk in the Park

Terezin, 30 miles from Prague, is a place of sadness, pain and death as well as courage and heroism. Terezin earned worldwide notoriety following Nazi occupation. As early as June 1940, the Prague Gestapo Police Prison was set up in the Small Fortress and turned into a huge place of persecution, where Jews were especially singled out for particularly harsh fate. The Main Fortress became a ghetto, a concentration camp for the Jews as early as June 1941. Initially the Jews were only in the barracks, but by 1942, the town's original population had been forced to move out and the whole town of Terezin became a town behind bars for Jews.

It also became an instrument of Nazi propaganda. The false image of Terezin was meant to be a smoke screen to hoodwink the international public and cover up the genuine tragic fate of inmates in Terezin and other camps. Bathrooms which were never hooked up and never used were built for show and the Red Cross visitors never knew. Some 140,000 men, women and children were deported to Terezin. In the final days another 15,000 prisoners arrived and had to be vacated. Many arrived dead and others died shortly after arrival.

There were many courageous and heroic people who worked hard to keep the people surviving. Rabbis, artists, doctors, nurses and others who boosted and strengthened morale, Less than 4000 people survived the war out of more than 53,000 inmates who had left the camp in transports. The victims included many children who had left behind drawings compiled into the book "I Never Saw Another Butterfly."

It was a difficult and moving experience to be there.

Three photomontages from series Behind the Scene/Seen: An Artistic Response to the Holocaust.


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