Terezin (or "Theresienstadt" in German), less than an hour's drive north of Prague, is a former Habsburg fortress and famous garrison town built between 1780-1790. This town became a holding camp for Jewish Czech families and selected Jewish groups from Germany, Austria, Holland, and Denmark between 1941-1945, and who were later deported to extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.

The Nazi strategy of deception used Terezin as propaganda, promoting it as a typical settlement for European Jews and exaggerating everyday cultural and sporting events while hiding Terezin’s role as a major holding, slave labor, and deportation facility.

The German media, controlled by the Nazis, cynically described Terezin as “Theresienbad” (translated as "Terezin Spa"), where elderly affluent German Jews were encouraged to “retire” in safety, away from the danger of the ongoing war. These people were tricked into paying the Nazis enormous amounts of money for what they believed would be luxurious apartments with beautiful views and daily care provided by servants.

In reality, they were meant to die from starvation or exposure to the worst possible living conditions of the overcrowded ghetto.

The role of Terezin in the Holocaust was underestimated for a long time.

The greatest Terezin historians and Holocaust survivors H.G. Adler and Prof. Emil Utitz describe Terezin as a “Social experiment of Adolf Eichmann” and that its story cannot be compared to any other ghetto or camp.


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