Theresienstadt Ghetto - Our Passports
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  • Theresienstadt Ghetto
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Theresienstadt Ghetto

 

Armband, ID & passport.

 

The ghetto Theresienstadt was established at the end of 1941 in what was formerly Czechoslovakia, fully occupied since March 15th of 1939.

 

The location was the former old military fortress of Terezín, north of Prague and it was one of the few locations that were kept running up to the end of the war, besides  the Ghetto of Lodz in occupied Poland.

 

To the Jews it is notoriously known as the Ghetto but to others and also maybe from an official or technical point of view it is classified as a concentration camp, maybe also due to the fact that it had a crematorium built inside of it.

 

The ghetto was used mainly to house the prominent, World War One veterans who distinguished themselves during the war and German Jews as well. A transit camp at times for those held for several months or some years before deportation to the Death Camps in occupied Poland.

 

Some important periods that can be associated with the ghetto are:

 

  • 1941 – establishment around the end of November;
  • 1942 – arrival of Jews from occupied Czechoslovakia and western Europe;
  • 1943 – camp commandant Anton Burger orders the complete inhabitants of the ghetto to stand outside in freezing weather during the camp census conducted at the time;
  • 1944 – infamous Red Cross visit and film depicting the “good treatment” that was afforded to the Jews in the ghetto – most of them would perish in the death camps after the film and visit were completed;
  • 1945 – Red Cross receives control of the ghetto shortly before the arrival of the liberating Red Army;

 

The article here will show some items that are connected to the ghetto.

 

The images are of an armband that was used by a former prisoner now living and working in the self-governed Jewish medical unit that was attending the ill and weak shortly after liberation. It bears the applied stamp reading “Samosprava Byv. Gheta Terezina/Zdravotnictvi” with the medical symbol of the ‘snake with the rod’ at the center. The armband is also numbered as well III 11/14.

 

The set comprises of the above mentioned armband together with a passport used to immigrate to Israel and ID belonging to an official member of the Jewish community inside the former German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen (the items came from the same family in Israel).

 

An interesting point that needs to be made out is that one of the commanders of the ghetto was Anton Burger, as mentioned above, and who was in Vienna working under Adolf Eichmann in 1938 and 1939 at the Central Agency for Jewish Emigration in Vienna, apparently, may have issued visas and passports to Jews wanting to immigrate out of occupied Austria (I have added an image of one such example that I believe bears his signature).

 

When the war ended in May of 1945, over 6,000,000 million Jews perished during them 6 long years of conflict that swept and ravaged Europe, all because of one delusional insane individual. Those who survived were liberated from the camps, ghettos and hiding began the long task of picking up the pieces. Most found out that what was their home and country was no more, with most of their family members being dead and many non Jews refusing to assist and accept their former neighbors back home. What they thought was the end of their plight was actually only the beginning and nearly all of them had to start a fresh, far away from their old former homes and leaving the damned wrenched continent. Many found a new home and refuge in their old ancestral Land of Israel, which became in 1948 the State of Israel.

 

Seeing the atrocities that are committed today, we sadly can deduct that man has not learned ANYTHING from the past and as several have said before” History repeats itself”…the most destructing living force on this fragile planet is us, human beings.

 

 

Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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