Terezín

Terezín

Terezin 1

Although Terezín was not an extermination camp, more than 33,000 people (primarily Jews) perished within its walls during World War II and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Still another 88,000 individuals were sent from Terezín to be slaughtered farther to the east at Auschwitz and Mauthausen.

Originally, the town of Theresienstadt (as it is called in German) was built by Emperor Joseph II some 50 kilometers to the north-northwest of Prague as a garriso for the defense of the Hapsburg Empire against the Prussians. The name honored his mother, the Empress Maria Theresa. The town consisted of two fortresses separated by the Ohře river. The smaller fortress was always used as a prison and the bigger one was converted into a small civilian town in 1882. Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife triggered the WWI, was imprisoned and died there.

In the company of a historian, you will spend your hour drive in a private car or minivan to Terezín learning about the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and the steady erosion of civil rights for Jews and other groups in the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, until the beginning of the transports that brought the Jews to the overcrowded, unhygienic conditions of the ghetto.

Terezin 2

In spite of the extremely tough living situation, Terezín has long been viewed as a place of spirit and endurance. You will learn how the camp’s Jewish inmates managed to organize basic health care and social welfare, conducting cultural and secret educational activities and even holding secret religious services. A great number of professional and amateur artists passed through Terezín and they tried to stay active even after arrival. The Nazis banned any cultural activities at first but later on – in compliance with the decision to use Terezín for propaganda – tolerated them.  This led to a camp life of grim paradoxes.  Inmates famously improvised theatrical and musical performances, painted and drew copiously, wrote and even published magazines—all in the face of death and despair.   One whole building of the memorial is dedicated to the art produced in the ghetto.  Your guide will help you understand the various intellectuals, artists and personalities who created such work in such a context.

Some 4,500 drawings by the ghetto children (arguably the largest children’s drawings collection in the world) have been preserved and they have a very special place in Terezín’s artistic context. They were hidden in two suitcases by Friedl Dicker-Brandeis before her departure to Auschwitz where she was murdered. Dicker-Brandeis had studied at the Weimer Bauhaus and later worked as an artist and textile designer. In the ghetto she organized drawing classes for kids. Out of some 660 authors of the drawings, 550 were murdered in the Shoah.

We’ve mentioned that Terezín was used for propaganda purposes. In June 1944, officials of the Red Cross were invited to inspect the ghetto. The Nazis opened cafés, schools and shops and even had a merry-go-round brought in for the occasion. The inspectors failed to see the swindle and praised ghetto’s living conditions. Spurred by this success, the Nazis decided to make a propaganda film for Western audiences. Although much of the film was destroyed, some footage has been preserved for our viewing at the memorial.

Terezin 3

With careful attention to detail and historical context and sensitivity to the emotional experience of visitors, your guide will help you to move through the Small Fortress, Ghetto Museum, Magdeburg Barracks, Crematorium, Columbarium, Ceremonial Halls and Central Morgue, and a replica of an attic room. The exposition is a fairly large one so you will need six hours (including the 1 hour journey from Prague and back).

Note: Terezin is closed 24.12. – 26.12. and 01.01

Vadim ErentVadim Erent Born in St. Petersburg, Vadim immigrated to the USA at 13. He did graduate work in Slavic Studies at the University of Chicago, then spent a decade travelling through the United States as an interpreter for the US State Department. He has lived in Prague since 2003. An art critic and literary historian, he contributes articles to Literaria Pragensia Books, the affiliated press of the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University. Vadim’s photography has been featured in Vlak Magazine, Grasp Magazine, The Humanities Review and Streetnotes. He is editing a book of essays on Serbian filmmaker Dusan Makavejev, to be published by Literaria Pragensia Books in Fall 2015. After years of giving tours of Prague to friends and family, he founded Insight Cities to offer in-depth experiences to a wider group of visitors. Vadim is married to Insight Cities co-founder Bonita Rhoads. They are the parents of a little Pražačka, Lucy, born in Prague in 2008.
Bonita RhoadsBonita Rhoads Bonita Rhoads earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2009. She was a lecturer at Charles University in Prague and an assistant professor at Masaryk University in Brno (the Czech Republic’s second city) for a decade before leaving university teaching to run her scholar-led guided walks company, Insight Cities. A native of New York City, Bonita moved to Prague in 2003 along with her husband, Vadim, co-founder of Insight Cities. She publishes on topics in nineteenth-century British and American literature. Her delight in her remarkable adopted city led her to become a dedicated student of Prague’s cultural and political history.
Kateřina PrůšováKateřina Průšová After studying Medieval Architecture at the Università per Stranieri, Perugia, Italy and Art History at the Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier III, France, Kateřina Průšová received her PhD from the Institute of Art History in the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, Prague. A lecturer in Art History at both Charles and Anglo-American Universities, she is also an official guide of the Prague Jewish Museum, a docent for the National Gallery on the collection of old masters at the Sternberg Palace, for the St. Agnes Monastery, and for the newly opened exhibition of Alfons Mucha’s The Slav Epic at the Veletržní palace. In 2010 and 2011, she was a guest lecturer on Medieval Art at the University of New Orleans.
Jan richterJan Richter Since 2007, Jan has been a producer and journalist for the leading news radio station in the Czech Republic, Radio Prague (the Czech equivalent of the USA's NPR). In addition to hosting a regular 30 minute show on current national affairs, he also provides analysis and reporting for the English language service of the station on topics ranging from contemporary Czech culture and business to Czech history. Jan took his MA in History from Masaryk University in Brno. Fluent in Spanish (as well as English), Jan spent two years teaching in Latin America, then became the first translator of Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries into Czech. Jan's fascination with the turmoil of the twentieth century also led him to spend six years (2001-2007) as a historian and curator for the Regional Museum in the Moravian town of Mikulov, where he prepared exhibitions on Czech Jewish history, World War II history and post World War II development. Outside his busy work schedule, Jan always appreciates a good night out with taroky, a rapidly disappearing Moravian card game. For visitors interested in the war years, the communist and post-communist periods in Prague, Jan is your guide.
Hana KubatováHana Kubatová Hana Kubatová recieved her PhD in Modern History at the Charles University in Prague and her MA in Nationalism Studies from the Central European University in Budapest. While writing her dissertation (book version to be published Fall 2012), she was a research fellow at the Heinrich Heine University in Germany, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Tel Aviv University in Israel and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Hana is the recipient of various awards, including the Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Marie Curie Fellowship for Early Stage Training from the European Commission, the Felix Posen Fellowship from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, the Israel Government Scholarship, and the Gisela Fleischmann Scholarship from the Milan Simecka Foundation. She is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague and a lecturer at Anglo-American University. Hana teaches and publishes on modern Jewish history, as well on the social history of WWII and European nationalism.
Alex WentAlex Went Alex Went attended Cambridge University, where he took his MA in English Literature. Since first visiting Prague in 1991, he has developed a close association with the city, and has adapted a number of Czech works in translation for the stage, including Bohumil Hrabal's Too Loud a Solitude and The Diary of Petr Ginz, a moving account of the life of a Jewish boy in 1940s Prague. As well as being an accomplished writer and poet, Alex is the curator of The Prague Vitruvius, an online guide to the history of the city's architecture.
Hana NIchtburgerováHana Nichtburgerová Hana Nichtburgerová handles public relations for the European Shoah Legacy Institute, a public benefit corporation which cooperates with governments, non-governmental organizations and experts to foster the restitution of Jewish cultural assets stolen by the Nazis and to promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance. As an undergraduate, she spent an exchange year at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst taking courses in Jewish Studies and Philosophy. She obtained her MA in Jewish History, Jewish Literature and Philosophy from the College of Jewish Studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. In Israel, she studied Hebrew in Haifa while also participating in the Ramat Rachel Archeological Project. Hana is fluent in English and German and conversational in Hebrew.
Max BahnsonMax Bahnson Max Bahnson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Having fallen in love with the beauty and the magic of Prague, and not just its beer, he moved to the city for good in 2002. Max is a writer and a blogger on the topic of Czech beer and is considered to be one of the leading authorities on the subject. He authors a regular column in The Prague Post under the pen name Pivní Filosof, The Beer Philosopher, and is a regular contributor to specialized magazines in Spain, the US and the Czech Republic.
GeorgeGeorge Thompson A citizen of the United States, George has lived in cities around the world. He has degrees in physics, the Japanese language and in architecture. George has a passion for uncovering the details in all that surrounds him which has led him to discover hidden and overlooked sites in the Golden City. His tours are bent toward exploring the beauty of the buildings and gardens of Prague that express the ideas and culture throughout the city’s long history. He loves photography and will point out photographic shots along the way. George's work experience in small-town preservation and the urban fabric of community development lend insight into Prague's history.
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Additional Costs:
Terezín Admission
Individual: CZK 215
students & seniors CZK 165 

Transport:
Private Car $150

Your guide will help you to purchase admission tickets to Terezín and we will arrange your private car/van according to your choice. We also offer you a calm lunch rest break at a quiet traditional Czech restaurant in Terezin.   

 

Groups of over 10 should contact us at [email protected] in order to get a special rate for their party.

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