Terezin, Czech Republic
By: Student Traveler (justin) 2011.12.28
Although Terezin's most infamous era was WWII when it served as a prison camp for enemies of the Reich (mainly Jews), it was originally built at the end of the 18th century as a strategic stronghold against invaders from th east. It quickly became apparent however, that Terezin was ineffective as a defensive structure, and it was adapted to serve mainly as a prison. The assassins of Archduke Ferdinand - the man whose death started WWI - were jailed and eventually died in Terezin. During WWII, the camp was first used as a prison for political prisoners of the SS, but was slowly converted into a concentration and transit camp for Jews, Romas, Communists, and homosexuals. Terezin was unique, however, in its designation as a prison for high profile prisoners. The abundance of artists, writers and intellectuals kept in Terezin would produce some of the war's most striking and stark images of like in a ZNazi concentration camp. All in all, 200,000 men, women and children would pass through Terezin's transit centers: 40,000 died at the camp, while 120,000 moved onto death camps in the east. Only 8,000 of the prisoners to pass through Terezin would survive the war.
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