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Theresienstadt Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Theresienstadt Appearance vs. Reality Jessica Cuddihy
  • 2. Map of Theresienstadt
  • 3. Origins
    • Theresienstadt (Czech: Terez í n) was originally a transit camp for wealthy or culturally important Czech, German, and Austrian Jews.
    • These included people who were handicapped as a result of military service, or some kind of celebrity.
    • Elderly were sent there – Nazis would transport people to the East to work. Elderly obviously couldn’t work, and Theresienstadt was a way to hide what they were doing. (“Theresienstadt”)
  • 4. Transports
    • 140,000 Jews were taking to Theresienstadt.
    • Elderly Jews were told that they were being sent to a spa resort. Some of them had even paid extra money to make sure they would live in a nice part of town when they arrived. (Lederer 39)
    • Theresienstadt was a “transit” camp (not a concentration camp or a ghetto): 90,000 of the Jews taken to Theresienstadt were taken farther east to ghettos like Minks or Warsaw, or concentration camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka. (“Theresienstadt”)
  • 5. Conditions in the Camp
    • Poor living conditions – diseases like scarlet fever, typhoid, and jaundice were common. (Lederer 138)
    • 33,000 died in the camp – most from disease or starvation. (highest per day mortality: 131/day in September 1942) (Lederer 96)
    • Disease did not spread as easily in women’s barracks: women had to wash their hands after using the toilets. (Troller 75)
  • 6. Barracks
  • 7. Daily Life
    • Rations: a sliver of margarine, a fraction of a loaf of bread (to share with an entire barrack), black coffee, an unpeeled potato, turnip soup. (Troller 95)
    • Most lost 30 to 50 pounds in the first three weeks after arriving. (Troller 87)
    • Forced to work in factories and paid in Theresienstadt bank notes that could be used in the stores to buy “sad refuse.” (Troller 59)
    • Families could meet in the courtyard between 6 and 7 PM every night. (Troller 77)
  • 8. Daily Life
    • Both images are stills from “The Fuhrer Gives a City to the Jews. On the left, prisoners work in a woodworking factory. On the right, Karel Ancerl conducts the Theresienstadt orchestra. (USHMM Photo Archives)
  • 9. Social Life
    • 463 religious marriages; 96 civil marriages; only 9 divorces. (Redlich 25)
    • 207 children were born in Theresienstadt. (Redlich 17)
    • Concerts and theater performances were given. Several orchestras. (Troller 82)
    • Library with 60,000 volumes.
    • Exhibitions of children’s arts and crafts. (Redlich 27)
    • Three social classes:
      • Council Elders, The AK1 and AK2 (construction)
      • Children, elderly.
      • New arrivals. (Troller 93)
  • 10.
    • Stealing was a problem among the youths of Theresienstadt:
      • “ Yes, we regret that we admitted stealing some meat. If we hadn’t admitted to it, no one would have known that we stole it.”
      • “ And you are not ashamed that you are in jail.”
      • “ No.”
      • “ How do you explain the difference!”
      • “ Here life is different from normality. When we return to normality, we will become decent again.”
    • - From The Terezin Diary of Gonda Redlich (Redlich 140)
  • 11. The Verbesserung (Embellishment)
    • To prepare for the Red Cross visit in June of 1944, the Nazis began to “embellish” Theresienstadt.
    • Changes included: removing barbed wire fences, fixing the children’s home, beautifying the city, and deporting 7,500 people to the East. (“Theresienstadt”)
    • In the dining hall, the prisoners were served by uniformed waitresses. (Redlich 146)
    • Concerts were given twice daily. (Redlich 145)
    • The Red Cross saw a soccer game, rock gardens, a bread factory, and a pharmacy. (Redlich 146)
    • Noted how well the inmates were treated.
  • 12.
    • Children play during the Red Cross visit to Theresienstadt
    Yad Vashem Archives
  • 13. The Verbesserung (Embellishment)
    • Jews were told to remove their yellow stars. (Lederer 97)
    • Did not have to salute SS officers. (Redlich 143)
    • The camp commander treated the Jews kindly, instead of brutally. (Lederer 109)
    • Three-tiered bunks were removed. (Lederer 110)
    • Displayed Jewish books. (Lederer 125)
    • Planted a tree in memory of all the Jews that had died in the camp. (Lederer 111)
    • A propaganda movie was filmed in the camp: The Fuhrer Gives a City to the Jews (video clip)
  • 14. Deception
    • SS officers told some elderly Jews that Theresienstadt was a “spa town” where they could retire. Some even paid money to secure a house in a good part of town. The belongings they had taken to the camp were seized upon arrival. (“Theresienstadt”)
    • When Dutch Jews arrived, the Nazis brought in Czech news cameras to film their arrival. The newsreels showed the Jews being helped off the train and writing letters home about how well they were welcomed. When the cameras left, the Jews were sent to dirty barracks. (Redlich 141)
  • 15. Oppression
    • The camp commander issued an order to the medical staff, instructing them to take “all necessary steps to stop birth in the Ghetto.” (Lederer 98)
    • The SS officers forced married couples to “agree in writing to infanticide.” (Redlich 136)
    • People were hanged for “insulting German honor” - included not tipping your hat to an SS officer, not moving out of an SS man’s way, and attempting to deflect a hit. (Redlich 5)
    • “ Illegal communications” = trying to write to a relative. (Redlich 4)
  • 16. Works Cited
    • Lederer, Zdenek. Ghetto Theresienstadt. Wisconsin: Edward Goldston & Sons, Ltd, 1953.
    • Redlich, Gonda. The Theresienstadt Diary of Gonda Redlich. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1992.
    • Theresienstadt,
    • Troller, Norbert. Theresienstadt: Hitler’s Gift to the Jews. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 1991.
  • 17. Pictures
    • Title card: History of the Ghetto Theresienstadt,
    • Map: Map of Theresienstadt Ghetto,
    • Conditions in the Camp, bottom left image on Barracks slide, and Daily Life slide: Photo Archives,
    • Barracks slide, top right: Barracks in Theresienstadt Ghetto ,
    • Barracks slide, top left: Theresienstadt concentration camp,
    • Barracks slide, bottom left and children playing: The Photo Archive,