Documents associated with this entity:

Walled ghetto (or concentration camp), also transit camp to Auschwitz and other extermination camps 1941‒45, located in the town of Theresienstadt (Terezín) in northwest Bohemia.


Theresienstadt (Terezín) was a late-18th-century garrison town in northwest Bohemia, c.70km (43 miles) north of Prague and c.20km (12 miles) south of Aussig ((Ústí nad Labem). From 1919 it was part of Czechoslovakia, but lay just inside the border of the predominantly German-speaking Sudetenland. It is situated on the Eger (Ohře) River just south of its confluence with the Elbe (Labe). It comprised a main fortress on the west bank, and a small fortress on the east side.


After the German occupation of the Sudetenland in October 1938, then of the Czech lands (Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia) in March 1939, the main fortress was adapted in 1941 as a ghetto to hold large numbers of Jews. These came initially from Prague and other parts of the Czech lands starting in November 1941, the small fortress becoming a Czech Gestapo prison. From June 1942, Jews were deported to the main fortress from Germany and Austria, including the Jews of Vienna, and from 1943 Jews from Holland and Denmark also. In all, 150,000 Jews were sent to the ghetto, including 15,000 children. About 33,000 died in there, mostly of malnutrition and disease. When liberated by the Soviet army on May 8, 1945, about 7,000 people were found, many of them ill or dying.

The ghetto was used also to hold prominent members of Jewish communities and people in certain professions or possessing certain skills. The Nazis presented it as a "retirement settlement" for elderly Jews as part of their effort to conceal the extermination being conducted as the Final Solution. Despite the hideous, insanitary conditions in which the inmates were kept, the ghetto did have something of a cultural life with concerts, lectures, and other events. The Red Cross was once admitted to see in what "comfortable" conditions the Jews were living, the camp having been "beautified" for the occasion, and a documentary film was made for propaganda purposes. The ghetto was officially governed by Jewish self-administration, a "Council of Elders" making many of the decisions as to the running of the camp.

Transit Camp

More than 88,000 Jews brought first to Theresienstadt were then deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. The number of survivors, from the ghetto itself and from those transported onward, is around 23,000.

Schenker Circle

Since most of Schenker's pupils, friends, and associates were ‒ like Heinrich and Jeanette themselves ‒ Jewish, many of them were probably deported to Theresienstadt between 1942 and 1944. Heinrich died before the Anschluss, but Jeanette, on the other hand, persecuted by the Nazis from 1940 and reportedly rescued from them twice, was eventually deported from Vienna on transport IV/248, June 29, 1942. Having survived in the ghetto for two-and-a-half years, she died there on January 8, 1945. Her younger son, Felix Kornfeld, was placed in Theresienstadt, where he encountered his mother (OJ 71/21a, [2]), before being deported to Auschwitz, where he perished on September 29, 1944. Fanny Violin, sister of Schenker's closest friend Moriz Violin, was transported to Theresienstadt and deported to Auschwitz, where she perished in May 1944. Heinrich's amanuensis Aron Mittelmann was deported to Theresienstadt on transport IV/9, No. 601, August 27-28, 1942 at the age of 85, and died on November 16 of that year of marasmus senilis. He lived in building L 504, section 1. The cellist Eduard Rosé, admired by Schenker, died in the ghetto on January 24, 1943. Others of whom nothing is known after 1939 must also have been deported to Theresienstadt.


The concentration camp is now open to the public, with guided tours, and there is a Ghetto Museum and War Museum.


  • wikipedia "Theresienstadt Ghetto"; Terezín
  • Terezín Museum
  • Kluger, Ruth, Landscapes of Memory: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered (New York: Feminist Press, 2001; London: Bloomsbury, 2003), pp. 76-100
  • Muller, Melissa and Piechocki, Reinhard, Ein Garten Eden inmitten der Hölle (Munich: Droemer Knauer, 2006), Eng. transl. A Garden of Eden in Hell ... The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer (London: Pan Macmillan, 2007, pp. 123-42
  • Smith, Lyn, ed., Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust: A New History in the Words of the Men and Women who Survived (London: Ebury Press and Imperial War Museum, 2005), p. 139 and passim


  • Ian Bent

Download all selected files as or or (check files to select/deselect)
Where appropriate save: English and German versions German version only English version only