In 1941 an entire city was wiped off the map with a stroke of a pen. By order of the German occupational forces, the Czech community of Terezín had to make room for a camp of Jewish prisoners – the Theresienstadt ghetto. All the town’s inhabitants were forced to relocate. Buildings and public spaces were used as a collection camp and later as a transit station for more than 140,000 people from Czechoslovakia, the German empire and other European countries until 1945. Lauded as a model camp, Theresienstadt also played a significant role in National Socialistic propaganda. Although the Czech inhabitants returned after the war and have remained there since, unmistakable traces of the ghetto years remain visible to this day, such as murals, graffiti and fixtures. The fact that the entire facility has been preserved in its original condition makes it a unique testimony to the Shoah.
However, the relics of the past have neither been documented nor safeguarded; the ravages of weather and possible vandalism are an increasing threat. Therefore, in cooperation with the urban planner and author Uta Fischer, the Association of Friends and Patrons of Theresienstadt aims to document and present the traces of these ghetto years on a website. The initiators hope that the project will increase public awareness of the artefacts, establish the town of Terezín today as an international memorial site and permanent Holocaust documentation centre, and intensify German-Czech cooperation.
Project director: Uta Fischer
Participants: Carol Bayer (CZ), Thomas Danzl, Roland A. Wildberg
Cooperation partners: City of Terezín (CZ), Theresienstädter Initiative (CZ) Terezín Memorial (CZ), Terezín Fortress Military Historic Association (CZ)
Commencement: June 2014