Saturday, 23 April 2011

54 Tenzin – A somber day

Friday 22nd April 2011

Those of you that know me, know that I am an “eye for an eye” kind of guy despite the shackles of my former employment I and believe in proper justice rather than the mamby pamby crap that our legal system delivers. No punishment, currently deliverable in Europe is strong enough for what we saw today.
Today we visited a sort of concentration camp. I say “sort of” because it was actually more of a transit camp and the prisoners, predominantly Jewish with other resistance prisoners did not spend too long here before being sent to extermination camps including Auschwitz. During the period of operation, June 1940 to May 1945, 141,000 prisoners passed through the camp. Of these, about a quarter died in this camp, the victims of disease and starvation. Most of these were cremated and the remainder buried in a mass grave within the camp grounds. 601 of these corpses were later exhumed and buried with dignity outside perimeter of the camp.
The figures make tragic reading: of the 15,000 children who passed through Terezin, only 100 survived; of the 88,000 deported from the camp (about half of whom went straight to Auschwitz), 84,500 were murdered; only 23,000 of the 141,000 sent to Terezín before April 1945 survived the war.
Many were tortured to death and others executed by firing squad at the firing range of the fortress for minor “offences” such as illegal associations and smoking. 3, including a woman were hanged for trying to escape.
In 1942, the monthly death-rate in the ghetto climbed from 1,000 in July to 4,000 (with an average age of 76) by September.
Even when liberated by the Russians on May 11th 1945, the bad news was still not over. In the 2 weeks preceding this, non Jewish prisoners, from other concentration camps were sent to Terezin infected with Typhoid. In the week leading to liberation the remainder of inmates were dying from the disease. 500 died following the liberation despite valiant efforts from Russian doctors.
The history of the camp is that it was initially built as a military fortress at the end of the 18th century, however it was only ever used as a normal prison. Inmates included, the Serbian assassins of Franz Ferdinand d’Este, the murder that started the First World War.

The entrance and the re-buried 601 coprses

ARBEIT MACHT FREI – a German lie that translates to WORK MAKES ONE FREE seen at all concentration camps.

The hospital/doctors room

The mass shower block (not a gas chamber)

The clothes de-lousing chamber

The military firing range used for executions

The Gallows

The monument

A large quadruple bunk cell

One of the courtyards, at the far end, execution of escapees was done in full view of the other inmates.

A small triple bunk cell. 75 beds !

The solitary confinement block. Used for prisoners to be executed.

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