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Phil & Carol on the Danube: Terezin Camp in Prague

Terezin Camp in Prague

I promised I’d let you know how last night went. We left the hotel at 7 pm headed and for a local restaurant with a Czech folklore dinner show. The dinner was very good, beginning with an appetizer of halusky–a typical Czech specialty made from potatoes with ham and cabbage. I know! It doesn’t sound all that good, does it? But it was very tasty. The entrée was a Czech grilled kabob with chicken, beef and vegetables. Then dessert was crepes with fruit and ice cream.

Accompanying dinner was a Czech band (that played all kinds of local instruments) and Czech dancers. The evening went on until about 10:30 with everyone having a great time.

Today we went to Terezin. From 1940-1943 this was a “holding place” for Jews, political people with power, intellectuals, writers, and other Europeans who resisted the Nazis. The length of each person’s interrogation depended on who they were, who they knew, etc. After a time of intense questioning, they were given a cup, a spoon, a bar of soap, and a blanket. More than 30,000 people died here from harsh conditions.

Terezin Camp in Prague

Over 155,000 people passed through here before going by train to Auschwitz and other death chambers. Terezin was a concentration camp and a Jewish ghetto. Families were split up from each other. The women were treated better than the children, who were taken to nearby buildings where they all lived together, and after 3 or more years, the young ones no longer recognized their parents.

For breakfast prisoners would have a piece of stale bread and brown water.

For lunch, soup with rotten vegetables, and sometimes one would find a needle in his soup. For dinner they had brown water or “coffee”.

Nearby was the underground factory where the stronger men made military parts. The weekly shower time was a time to be cherished for these people because when they were brought out of the rooms 100 at a time and while waiting for the usually cold shower, they were able to talk with each other.

Finding out who was alive or not, and getting some small bit of news from the new folks in camp were the highlight of the week. After their showers, they would put on deloused clothes, which were wet from the steam and head back to the cold cells.

All in all… not a very nice place to be.

Tomorrow we head for our Riverboat on the Danube River. We’ll talk to you from there!

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