Built in the late 18th century, Terezin was originally intended as a military fortress and garrison. It served this purpose numerous times but was eventually used by the Nazis as ghetto and prison for the Jews of Czechoslovakia and surrounding countries. Theresienstadt is the German name for Terezin.
Children’s Homes (Kinderheim) in Terezin.
Most of the children lived in separate rooms or Kinderheims separated for boys and girls. The Jewish Council tried to shield the children from the realities of Terezin. They had better food and living conditions than many of the adults. Children under the age of 14 often attended secret classes. They had lessons in the morning and physical activity or games in the afternoon. During classes, held mostly in attics, students and teachers kept watch for guards so that they could quickly pretend to be doing other activites.
- 140,000 people were held prisoner at Terezin from 1942-1945.
- 87,000 people were deported east to death camps, mostly to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
- Of those deported to death camps, 3,600 survived.
- 34,000 died in Terezin primarily from malnutrition, disease and suicide.
- On May 9, 1945, 17,000 people remained in Terezin.
- 15,000 children were sent out east and of those deported to death camps, under the age of 15, less than 300 survived.
Jewish Museum in Prague (home of the Children’s Art Collection of Terezin)