a “model” concentration camp theresienstadt. as part of the “final solution” to rid...
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A Model Concentration CampTheresienstadt
As part of the final solution to rid Europe of Jews, Hitler established concentration camps.Concentration means bringing together, and in these camps Hitler brought together Jews from all over Europe.In some of the camps, gas chambers were constructed.The Nazis gassed to death hundreds of non-Jews and Jews all at once men, women, babies, children, old and young.There was no place to bury all of these people, so the bodies were burned.In some camps, the Nazis built crematoriums ovens where they could burn hundreds of bodies at one time.
Although smoke came from the camps with the odor of burning bodies, people who lived near the camps paid no attention.
TheresienstadtThe village of Terezin, in Czechoslovakia was chosen by the Nazis as the spot for a special concentration camp. Because Terezin was a town surrounded by a wall, the Nazis felt that it would be simple to guard. There was also a nearby railway station from which transports of people could be sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz.
Rumors were spread by the Nazis that Terezin would be an old folks home, a sort of resort for privileged Jews. The Nazis propaganda was effective. Some Jews even paid to be sent to Terezin because they believed the Nazi lies.
Hitler decided that Terezin would become the model camp, the camp he would show the Red Cross. The surroundings were beautiful. It was build on green meadows, and nearby there were fruit trees.The Nazis took the Red Cross on a tour and said, See our prisoners do not have it so bad. Even the food is good; taste it for yourself.The Red Cross, of course, did not know that the food they ate was not the food served to prisoners.The menu of the Jews in Terezin was always the same: bread and unsweetened black coffee for breakfast; watery soup for lunch; soup and bread for dinner.
Many artists were shipped to Terezin. For a time they were allowed to work as draftsmen and in similar jobs. But when they began sketching what they saw around them, they were beaten and tortured. Most of them were imprisoned and then sent on to be murdered at Auschwitz.However, the pictures that these artists produced survived and tell us better than words how horrible life was in Terezin.
The greatest tragedy of Terezin surrounded the children. Thousands of children were brought there. A few children in this camp lived with their parents, but most were orphans and were housed together in huge barracks, 20-30 children in a room.
A school was organized and classes were held.From the age of 14 kids had to work long hours. The younger kids secretly studied and drew pictures.The children drew the things they saw around them hunger, starvation, illness and people being murdered. They drew these things into their pictures and wrote about them in their poetry.More than 15, 000 children stopped off at Terezin for a short time. Of this number only about 150 lived.
The last, the very last,So richly, brightly, dazzlinglyyellow.Perhaps if the sun's tearswould singagainst a white stone...Such, such a yellowIs carried lightly 'way up high,It went away I'm sure because it wished tokiss the world good-bye.For seven weeks I've lived in here,Penned up inside this ghetto.But I have found what I love here.The dandelions call to meAnd the white chestnut branches in the court.Only I never saw another butterfly.That butterfly was the last one.Butterflies don't live in here,In the ghetto.
"Children were neither just the mute and traumatized witnesses to this war, nor merely its innocent victims; the war invaded their imaginations and the war raged inside them."
Power Point presentation by Shani Abed Hebrew/Judaic Teacher San Diego Jewish Academy