1939, Theresienstadt, A gift from Hitler. A place of hope and happiness for Jews and Jewesses alike. Theresienstadt was somewhere they could wait the war out without fear until the shadow of Nazism passed. It was a place filled with the most prosperous artists and musicians, daily shows and operas, lectures and seminars, gardens and coffee shops. A place with grace and character. An entire town that was given to the Jews as a gift from the Fuehrer. A paradise for Jews. That is at least, what the Nazis wanted people to believe.
Forty miles north west of Prague, Czechoslovakia, surrounded by the central Bohemian Mountains Hitler pinpointed the small town of Theresienstadt to be his paradise ghetto, his ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂgiftÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬. Located in a scenic community, Theresienstadt had broad streets and a large square surrounded by two large parks and two smaller ones. Here within an area five blocks wide and seven blocks long, over 140, 000 Jews would spend the last months of their lives, and only a few handfuls would survive.
The first Jewish prisoners entered Theresienstadt on November 24, 1941. In the beginning, when the Fuehrer first presented the city to the Jews, many came willingly to the ghetto because life as a Jew was becoming intolerable and dangerous elsewhere with the rise and spread of anti-Semitism. The Jews wanting to enter Theresienstadt merely had to sign a contract turning over all remaining assets and property to the S. S, and in return the S. S pledged to take care of them as long as they inhabited Theresienstadt.
Theresienstadt was un-like any other ghetto in the fact that Hitler planed to use the ghetto as a ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã ÂmodelÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬ ghetto. It was a model that was supposed to represent all the ghettos set up across Europe. Theresienstadt was...