Terezín on Ohře river

Thursday, 15 May 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

City Hall © Sokoljan/cc-by-sa-3.0

City Hall © Sokoljan/cc-by-sa-3.0

Terezín (German: Theresienstadt) is a former military fortress and adjacent walled garrison town in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. In the late 18th century, the Habsburg Monarchy erected the fortress along the Ohře River, near its confluence with the Elbe River at Litoměřice. It was named Theresienstadt after Empress Maria Theresa. Construction started in 1780 and lasted ten years. The fortress consisted of a citadel, the “Small Fortress” (Kleine Festung), to the east of the Ohře, and a walled town, the “Main Fortress” (Große Festung), to the west. The total area of the fortress was 3.89 km². In peacetime it held 5,655 soldiers, and in wartime around 11,000 soldiers could be placed here. Trenches and low-lying areas around the fortress could be flooded for defensive purposes. Fortress Josefov in eastern Bohemia was built at the same time and had a similar purpose. Together with fortress Terezín, it was intended as protection against attacks from Prussia, but its military importance, like other such fortresses built across Europe, was minimal as decisive battles were often fought elsewhere.

By 1940 Germany assigned the Gestapo to adapt Terezín, better known by the German name Theresienstadt, as a ghetto and concentration camp. Considerable work was done in the next two years to adapt the complex for the dense overcrowding the inmates were subjected to. It held primarily Jews from Czechoslovakia, as well as Jews deported mainly from Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Denmark. Part of the fortification (Small Fortress) served as the largest Gestapo prison in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. It was on the other side of the river from the ghetto and operated separately. After the German surrender the small fortress was used as an internment camp for ethnic Germans. The first prisoners arrived on May 10, 1945. On February 29, 1948 the last German prisoners were released and the camp was officially closed.

City Hall © Sokoljan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Engineers' Barracks © Miaow Miaow Ghetto Museum © Miaow Miaow Hamburg Barracks © Miaow Miaow Mácha Street © Miaow Miaow Theresienstadt concentration camp © Guido Radig/cc-by-3.0
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Theresienstadt concentration camp © Guido Radig/cc-by-3.0
After the war, Theresienstadt was renamed as Terezín. After the related war uses, such as for holding ethnic Germans to be expelled, the government retained a military garrison until 1996. The troops’ departure and closing down of related operations had a negative effect on the local economy of the small town.

Terezín is still trying to develop a more diverse economy; some people think its history can attract heritage tourism. In 2002, the fortress, which was in a deteriorated condition, was listed in the 2002 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund. The organization called for a comprehensive conservation plan, while providing funding from emergency repairs from American Express. In 2002 the city was struck by floods during which the crematorium was damaged. A conservation plan was eventually developed in cooperation with national authorities. According to the Fund, a long-term conservation plan was conceived, which includes further repairs, documentation, and archaeological research.

Read more on City of Terezín, CzechTourism.com – Terezín, Terezín Memorial, Golf Club Terezín and Wikipedia Terezín. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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