The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/theresienstadt/theresien.01

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Theresienstadt
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project http://www,
Keywords: Theresienstadt,Terezin,Rahm

Archive/File: camps/theresienstadt/theresien.01
Last-Modified: 1994/09/20

"Theresienstadt (Terezin), a sleepy little Czech town, half military, half
civilian, is located about forty miles from Prague. A picture-book
community of about 7,000 inhabitants, it was named for the
eighteenth-century empress of Austria, Maria Theresa. The Nazis chose it as
the site for a special purpose prison rather than a concentration camp, an
excercise, as it were, in Nazi public relations. Soon after the Nazis
revealed their plans for the site, the Germans abruptly evicted the entire
native population, most of whom could trace their ancestral roots to the
eighteenth century. A narrow area of less than a square mile was enclosed
as a detention center. In a 1941 document it was announced that `privileged
people' who were to be interned for security reasons would be held in
Theresienstadt -- elderly men and women of distinction, decorated veterans
of World War I, Jewish partners in mixed marriages and of high social
standing, bureaucrats who had held high office, artists, journalists,
musicians, noted church figures. Here were sent internationally respected
prisoners thought by the Germans to have hostage value. It was not
emphasized that 90 percent or more of those held at Theresienstadt were
Jews, and the majority came from a cross section of the Czech, Dutch,
German, and Danish communities.

Many Jews were deceived by the propaganda that Theresienstadt was a
privileged internment center. Families about to be deported prayed to be
routed there, as to a sanctuary. By the fall of 1942, 59,000 deportees had
been jammed into quarters that may have been tolerable for 10,000. Then
began the routine dispatch of prisoners east to Auschwitz and other death
camps, at first in groups of a few hundred, ultimately in convoys of
thousands. New arrivals continuously replaced the departed doomed.

The commandants, as usual, had criminal records. The last of them, Karl
Rahm, a mechanic in earlier civilian life, soon disabused his charges of
the idea that Theresienstadt was reserved for the privileged. To be sure,
there were neighter gas chambers nor crematoria there. But as the crowding
increased, the facilities for daily living became ever more inadequate and
degrading. Elderly people, often from comfortable backgrounds, were
compelled to wait in line for hours for access to lavatoris that could not
be kept even moderately tidy for the traffic they had to bear. The food
could hardly be digested, even by the starving."

"...only 100 of the 15,000 children under the age of fifteen who passed
through Theresienstadt survived the war."

Extracted from--------------------------------------------------- 
"THE REDEMPTION OF THE UNWANTED", Abram L.  Sachar (New York: St.
Martin's/Marek, 1983.

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