Sunday, November 06, 2011

In Terezin / Theresienstadt

I think that the history and significance of Terezin/Theresienstadt is well known to everybody, so I will not present it here. Since my route up north would pass this place, I decided to include it in my travel plans.

The weather on Saturday was determined by a thick foggy cloud cover, which seemed to make everything grey and depressive. This set the proper frame for a visit of this place of sadness. Coincidentally just 4 weeks ago, I had attended a concert with music of composers who were in Terezin, and on Friday evening, I learned that also cellist Frantisek Brikcius is participating in this project to keep this music alive and make it more known to wider audiences.

Terezin is an 18th century military fortress. I had expected to find fences and barbed wires, but the town is actually open, and people live here. This seemed strange to me, and the whole atmosphere is a bit weird: there are shops and restaurants (advertisement for a pizzeria shows up), but most visitors walk solemnly around. The area is quite large to walk by foot, and I was not able to see every corner of the town. But I visited the central museum, which does provide a very good documentation. There is a room with just the names of all 10,000 children. There are also many exhibits with original documents which described everyday life and procedures.

If I had more time, I would have also have visited the auto museum which is located between the small fortress and the parking lot: they seemed to have a nice selection of classic buses. But I think that somehow such a mundane "attraction" feels misplaced here in Terezin.

After about 1 1/2 hours I drove on, towards my actual destination for today, not very far north from Terezin: the area known formerly as "Sudentenland".

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