What follows is probably one of the most disturbing days we have had in a long time.
Having seen something about Theresienstadt in a television series we realised that it's not THAT far from Wernigerode - it's only 340 kms: about 3 hours, according to Google Maps.
Clara can do a 680 km round trip in a day - can't she? Her exhaust is noisy, as is her windscreen wiper motor, but it's going to have to be ok. We will likely not be
back in this part of the world for a while, so it's this week or never.
Oil checked and level is fine.
We didn't leave until about 9:15, so we weren't going to have very long there unless we were planning to be very late back. As it turned out we had insufficient time to see everything but
plenty long enough to start to understand the place. Possibly too much time: it's not a pleasant place. As towns go, it's OK: but with its history it takes on a different feel.
As I mentioned in this blog post, the labourers from the camps in Wernigerode were marched to Litomerice Concentration Camp.
It's taken us three hours in the car at 130kph - 150kph: imagine being forced to walk that far in a state of malnutrition and starvation. Sadly but unsurprisingly many of them didn't make
it and this turned into a death march.
This is also the place where Gavrilo Princip was imprisoned and died in 1918.
There followed an uneventful three hour drive down past Halle, Leipzig, Dresden and across the Ore Mountains into the Czech Republic.
We stopped at the first service station
over the border to buy our vignette...
... and pressed on for Terezin.
From the car park you walk past the Jewish Memorial Cemetery...
... across the moat...
... and up to the entrance past the Reception Office. The first place that I have been to with 'Arbeit Macht Frei' over the gate.
Even inside it is hard to grasp the scale of the suffering here and how the 'Small Fortress' was a byword for terror in the nearby ghetto. It all looks clean and tidy now, but this
was far from the case in WWII. Approximately 32,000 prisoners passed through here from 1940 onwards. 2,100 men and 500 women died here, and a further 5,500 died after deportations
to other concentration camps and prisons.
Outside the prison itself are the Officer's Quarters (in stark contrast to the 'accommodation' for the prisoners):
The Death Gate, through which prisoners about to be shot were taken:
And the Fourth Yard, which contained mass cells.
Between four and six hundred prisoners were incarcerated in cells like this. Hard to envisage or comprehend.
And solitary confinement cells, later used as mass cells.
23 Germany Again Five