Saturday, December 25, 2010

TEREZIN


It was a clear, almost sunny day in late October; I had a thick, woolen sweater on me, and yet I felt chills all over my body. My brain was busy translating sights into people and happenings, my camera 'behaved' as if it highly resented the idea of taking pictures.
Visiting a place which used to serve as ghetto, prison and concentration camp was not an enjoyable experience .

Terezin (Teresienstadt) , a peaceful little town one hour north of Prague. has been turned by the Nazis into a ghetto for the jews of Czechia and adjacent countries during World War Two.

Things are somehow dispersed here, confusing the first time visitor. There's the main site (the city Ghetto) and a small fortress ( Gestapo political prison) - some twenty minutes walk apart from each other. Both places have museums and exhibitions , cemeteries, yards, barracks, torture cells, bunks, gallows - all testimony to the attrocities that have been comitted here by the Nazis.


'Arbeit Macht Frei ' sign ( upon the inner gate)

inhuman cell

Outside of the small fortress (Mala Pevnost - built in the 18 century on the edge of the town of Terezin) , near the entrance, there's the National Cemetery , dedicated to the victims of Terezin prison and concentration camp. Buried here are people exhumated from the mass graves within the fortress, urns containing ashes from the Crematorium of the Ghetto, and also remains of the dead from the Ghetto. In all, 10,000 victims (jews and other nationalities - and there 's a Cross and a David's Shield on the spot).



entrance to the small fortress


national cemetery

I believe , a visiti to places like Terezin (Czech Republic) , Dachau (Germany), Auschwitz (Poland) gives one a new perspective to the concepts of Life and Death; it teaches a lot about Human Nature , about Evil and Suffering. After visiting places like the above mentioned , one's view of the world ceases to be romantic , and becomes more lucid and realistic.

36 comments:

  1. Hi Duta!

    You certainly get about... you seem to have been everywhere!

    I've been following you for quite a while now and you always have something interesting to post. I'm not sure whether you're into Xmas but I've come to pass on Best Wishes of the Season...

    ... and may 2011 be a Fantabulous New Year for you!

    All the very best

    from Gledwood

    in London :-)

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  2. Dear Duta,
    I always find something new to learn from your posts. So well written. So full of information and reflection. This is another interesting post. It makes me think of yesterday, Christmas eve. While all of my Facebook friends were posting about their Christmas shopping and preparation for the celebration, I was posting about my visit to the hospital. I was truly touched by the sorrow of a son seeing his 62 year-old mother dying. Also, by a tearful daughter who came from out of town to find her father in deteriorated condition, weak and confused.

    ((((( hugs ))))))

    Doris

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  3. I am comment-less, Duta. Thanks for sharing...

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  4. Wow sweetie, I can't even imagine walking on the sacred ground. The presence alone must be overwhelming. Yes, quite the lesson on human nature here. My heart breaks every time I read the historical facts on what Jew's endured.

    God chosen...

    God bless and keep you sweet Duta. :o)

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  5. I agree totally, I had the same impression when I visited Auschwitz (Poland). It is vital that people continue to have a conversation about what happened at these camps. No human should endure these suffering again. Let's pray that humans have evolved since then.

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  6. Gledwood,

    Thanks for the wishes.
    To be honest, I don't celebrate Chistmas as I'm not of christian faith, but I do respect this holiday and those who celebrate it.
    May you have a wonderful New Year! May 2011 bring you much happiness , health and prosperity!

    Hold my hand: a social worker's blog,

    Your kind of work gives you great insight into human nature with all its frailties. More than anybody else you're able to understand what suuffering means.
    Thank you for your warm words.

    Dimple,

    I'm not surprised. When visiting, or even just reading about a place like Terezin - one becomes unable to express one's feelings. It's a place of infinite sadness and sorrow.

    Nezzy,

    I'm not sure at all about "God chosen", but the suffering that people have undergone here is obvious even today after sixty years.
    Blessings to you too!

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  7. Dear Duta...and there are those in today's world who would have us believe this never happened. Blessings to you for keeping it real and reminding us that evil of this magnitude must never be allowed to happen again. I'm sure that the souls of those lost at this site must still be present there. May they rest in peace knowing there are still people like you who will continue to tell their stories. Thank you.

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  8. Angelina,

    Absolutely. It should be constantly discussed and analyzed, so that this does not happen again. Ever. Let's pray indeed to that cause!

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    Unbelievable! Despite the vast testimony of photos, documents, human remains, structures , devices, etc..there are still people denying that all these attrocities have ever taken place.
    Blessings to you too!

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  9. I can understand what you meant about the .."becomes more lucid and realistic"

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  10. Yes you were walking on Holy Ground.
    My mind has never been able to wrap around the horror and suffering.
    Although I am of the Christian faith, I was raised to respect and honor Jewish people. That they are God's chosen people.
    And your post made me think of that we have been discussing in Sunday School...the heart of man....
    Best wishes to you in the New Year.

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  11. Interesting place and beautiful pictures. Well written post dear Duta. Shalom!

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  12. Ce blog frumos cu lucruri atat de interesante!

    An Nou fericit !

    Imbratisari din Romania,

    Irina

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  13. What can I say except that was striking on so many levels. Have a blessed day.

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  14. nomore,

    Yes, unfortunately we can't afford looking at the world through a rosy prism; we have to see things as they are and as they're likely to become at any stage in life.

    AngelMc,

    It's the same with me . I respect and honor the Christian faith although I'm not of Christian faith. I believe we should all respect (not hate and kill) people regardless of their faith or ideology.

    Phivos Nicolaides,

    Thanks. The place is worth visiting; it makes us reflect on the nature of human evil and think of what could be done to prevent it from raising its head.

    Irina,

    Multumesc pentru caldele cuvinte.
    Fie ca Anul Nou sa va aduca multa Bucurie, Sanatate si Prosperitate!

    Kalea Kane,

    Welcome to my little blog!
    Indeed, "striking on so many levels".
    Thank you for your comment, and many blessings to you!

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  15. Duta
    It was a time of Horror. Yes these places need to exist to try to keep us aware of this awful fate of these innocent people. I am glad the ones who were put in mass graves were places in a place of reverence. Peace

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  16. I was knocked a bit windless with this post of yours, Duta. I don't know why. Perhaps the awfulness of what had happened in that place managed to seep into me. Always good to be reminded of such atrocities. Stops one from taking like too much for granted.

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  17. Lady Di Tn,

    I was also glad to learn that the National Cemetery was dedicated to taking care of all victims of Terezin Nazis : individuals, those buried in mass graves, ashes of those burnt at the crematorium, remains of corpses. May they all rest in peace! The place, together with the small fortress is called Terezin Memorial.

    Vera,

    I'm afraid this post doesn't go well with Christmas joyful celebrations, but I had to write it now as it ends , for the time being, the series of posts on my visit to Prague and its surroundings.

    I completely agree with the last sentence of your comment.

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  18. Since I had visited many musea before Dauchau, I thought I knew what I was getting into visiting itwith our friends, only to discover I had NO CLUE! I couldn't eat that day.

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  19. My wife has talked about going to Prague for years. There are so many places we'd love to go.
    It is our intention to travel to Europe soon.
    I'm a new follower and just starting to read back through your older stuff.
    Thanks for your post.

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  20. So glad you do remind us of the horror of World War II. It should never be repeated.
    kim

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  21. jeannette,

    The more we see of it, the more we realize we have "NO CLUE", as you put it. Our brains cannot grasp the meaning of the things we see in these places.

    Life 101,

    Welcome! Thanks for reading my posts.
    Your wife knows what she wants. Prague is an amazing city and has a lot to offer its visitors.
    I strongly recommend you go there and enjoy the sights.

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  22. Mi-ar fi foarte greu sa vizitez asemenea locuri.E o tortura la care nu stiu daca m-as putea supune, avind in vedere cate a patimit popoprul acesta.
    Cu respect.
    Sarbatori Fercite.

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  23. Such places are terrible. I think that I would not be able to visit one of the places you mentioned.

    And... Happy Birthday! - I've read one of the previous comments ;)

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  24. Stuff could always be worse,

    Your concluding sentence : "It should never be repeated " is the motto, and the bottom line. Amen.

    Viorel Irascu,

    Intradevar, multora le este foarte greu sa viziteze aceste locuri.Si mie; totusi simt o nevoie launtrica de a ma confrunta cu realitatea ce se perinda-n fata ochilor in aceste locuri de oroare.

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  25. Oh, goodness, talk about man's inhumanity to man. It's really nauseating, isn't it?

    I love reading about your travels, but this one made me sad.

    AND ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY...! We are cousins. *heh*

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  27. YEAH! It makes the hair on the back of my neck
    curl. I was in Ann Franks house a one of those
    crazy beeping cars went my I almost fainted. Had to leave I was sick to my stomach.
    On a happier Note Happy New Year,

    yvonne

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  28. If I came to Europe a place like this would have to be experienced.

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  29. Hi Duta, I know exactly what you are trying to say here about how human nature can be so evil as my visit to Auschwitz was a similar experience to this. It was a somber day that did not seem to end around a bizarre mix of museum and graveyard that stands as a monument so that it will never happen again. When I returned home and printed the photographs, I could not place them in the album alongside other tourists pictures from Krakow, except for the two significant exterior shots of both gates. It seems that history has not been kind to the Jews. (Sorry I deleted my earlier comment as something could be misinterpreted wrongly .... by an unusual religious organisation watching my blog from your part of the world)

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  30. robert,

    Yes, one has to be strongly motivated to visit such terrible places, as it could be a hard experience.
    Thanks for the 'Happy Birtday' wish.

    Jo,

    To tell you the truth, when facing such inhumanity I feel, at first chills and horro only, and then gradually I become devoid of any human feeling, like a stone.

    What a nice coincidence (our birthdays, I mean)!

    La Petite Gallery,

    A visit to Ann Frank's house in Amsterdam is indeed hard on anyone. After all, she was only a child, a girl forced to live in terrible conditions.
    A Happy New Year to you too!

    One Fly,

    Right. I think it's a Must to experience a visit at such places.

    J on tour@jayspaze,

    I haven't visited Auschwitz yet. I know it's the climax of evil and horror, and I perfectly understand your difficulty in trying to place its photos alongside with regular touristic photos.

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  31. Thank you for posting this. The only pictures I've seen of Teresienstadt were the Nazi propoganda films depicting the prisoners as happy, healthy, well fed, and engaged in art and recreation. However, when the cameras stopped rolling, these same prisoners were transfered to Aushwitz.

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  32. TallTchr,

    I haven't mentioned the propaganda film in my post, so thanks for doing that in your comment.
    At the Small Fortress, the black-and white film produced by the Nazis to cover their evil deeds, is a great shock to all those visitors who watch it.

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  33. Hello Duta,

    Thank you for findin' my blog here in blogland... and sorry for a very late response... i had been very busy the past months so quiet unable to get in touch often... thanks as well for followin'.. i hope you'll enjoy your stay... i wish you and yours all the best luck in this year of the rabbit... Happy New Year!!!;)

    God Bless!!!;)

    >kelvin

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  34. Windowlad,

    You're welcome. Thanks for your kind wishes.

    God bless you too, Kelvin!

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