Newsletter 2/2013

20th anniversary of Terezin Memorial Education Department

This year marks 20 years of activities of the Terezin Memorial Education Department, the workplace which mainly focuses on direct work with school children by organizing training seminars on the role of Terezin during World War II. Initially it was not a simple task since the political change in 1989 led to a massive decline in interest in the Terezin issues on the part of the youngest local visitors to the memorial. However, it is thankfully no more the truth.

Seminars for school groups, the guided tour by the lecturer of the Educ. Dept.

Seminars for school groups, the guided tour by the lecturer of the Educ. Dept.

Seminars planned for Czech schools were initially conceived as a one day event only.  However, opening a hostel in Terezin Magdeburg barracks in 1997 brought a certain change in this matter and resulted in an extended offer of the Education Department, which could start running also multi-day seminars. A few years later, further accommodation premises in Fučíkova Street were added to the existing capacity. The programme of both overnight and day teaching activities consists of lectures, workshops, visits, film screenings with commentaries, interviews with survivors, etc. The Department currently uses six classrooms, one of which is equipped with twenty computer stations. Seminars are not intended only for Czech school children, but also for students from abroad, especially from German speaking countries, which is under the care of volunteers from Germany and Austria who are regularly sent to Terezin Memorial for one year by the German organization Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste – ASF and by the Austrian institution Gedenkdienst.

    Accommodation sites for participants of the seminar, Meeting Centre in the Magdeburg Barracks, Terezin

Accommodation sites for participants of the seminar, Meeting Centre in the Magdeburg Barracks, Terezin

Running workshops for schools is not the only job description of the Education Department. For instance, since the mid-90s there have been annually announced art competitions for young participants to tackle the issues related to the danger of anti-Semitism, racism, totalitarianism, etc. This year already XIX year of the literary and XVII year of the art competitions have been announced (more to be found in the Newsletter 3/2013). Every year the best works are compiled into travelling exhibitions installed at many places in the CzechRepublic. Competitions are financed mainly from donations of the former ghetto prisoner Ms. Hana Greenfield.

The Terezin Memorial is also involved in further education of teachers. The beginnings of this work were very modest. In collaboration with the School District Office in Litoměřice, we first organized cycles of lectures on the history of the region with regard to World War II, Terezin repressive facilities and CC Flossenburg branch in Litoměřice. Later, they were followed by several days seminars organized by the Terezin Memorial in cooperation with the German organization Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste – ASF, which were attended by both Czech and German teachers, and which eventually grew into regular Czech-Brandenburg seminars. Currently, these are to a large extent organized by some of the partner organizations of the Memorial such as the National Institute for Further Education – NIDV or the Regionale Arbeitsstellen für Ausländerfragen, Jugendarbeit und Schule Brandenburg (Regional Jobs for Immigrants, Youth Work and School) – RAA Brandenburg. In addition, since 2000 the Terezin Memorial has been organizing a regular cycle of trainings for Czech teachers in close liaison with the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and in cooperation with many inland and foreign organizations. These seminars are currently of a four stage structure: The 1st and 2nd stage take place in the Czech Republic (Terezin Memorial, Jewish Museum in Prague), the 3rd stage in some foreign European institution similar in character to the Terezin Memorial (Ravensbrück Memorial, State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau), and the 4th stage has been taking place in the Israeli Yad Vashem in Jerusalem since 2005. These seminars are the direct result of the conference called Holocaust Phenomenon, which took place in Prague and Terezin under the auspices of the President of the Czech Republic Mr. Vaclav Havel in 1999. Educational seminars have been also organized since 2005 for teachers of the SlovakRepublic, since 2010 for teachers from France and occasionally even for teachers from other countries (e.g. Denmark).

Website to the project „Tracing Little Memorials“

Website to the project „Tracing Little Memorials“

In addition to the above-mentioned regular training activities, other fitful projects are also implemented serving mostly for the creation of educational materials for Czech teachers and their pupils. Let us mention those of the recent years. First of all, it is the publication titled “Terezin Ghetto, Holocaust and Today”, which is one of the outputs of the project conducted within 2007-2009 in close collaboration with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. The publication is also available in electronic form on the website of the aforementioned institution (see Newsletter 1/2010). Most recently, the department has launched a website for young people and teachers with the title “Schoolchild in the Protectorate” (Newsletter 1/2013), which contains a great deal of interesting things and facts from the life of school children at the time of the Protectorate as well as methodological material for teachers. Work on this website also involved the creation of topical workshops, which are available in the offer to school groups. Last but not least to mention is the project “Tracing Little Memorials” (Newsletter 1/2012).

The Terezin Memorial has devoted past 20 years to extensive educational activities. However, it is necessary to emphasize that its work results would have been much poorer without the support of many partner institutions, government bodies and individuals. Our boundless gratitude therefore belongs to all of you who have supported us in the past two decades. Thank you!

Šp

Jews from the Reich Commissariat Netherlands in the Terezin Ghetto

Report on the arrival of the transport XXIV/1 from Holland to the ghetto Terezin in April 1943. PT 11017.

Report on the arrival of the transport XXIV/1 from Holland to the ghetto Terezin in April 1943. PT 11017.

Curt announcement in daily order of 23rd April 1943 let the ghetto prisoners in Terezin know about the arrival of transport marked XXIV/1 with 295 people from Amsterdam on 22nd April 1943. Seven more transports gradually arrived until November 1944.

The above mentioned eight transports were composed of nearly 5,000 people mostly interned in the Westerbork camp. This camp was founded as early as in 1939 for Jewish immigrants from other countries. Since the spring of 1942 transports of Dutch Jews were dispatched there and with the beginning of summer they started leaving to “the East”. Approximately 100,000 Jews were deported over Westerbork.
Speculations about the possibility of sending transports to Terezin appeared there in October 1942, in connection with the question of how to treat the Jewish fighters of the First World War. Nazis considered Terezin suitable for them, because similar “casesof the Reich had also been sent there. In the Netherlands, Terezin was seen as a better option for deportation to the East, it was understood as a ghetto of the old, a place where it is possible to get for merits or retirement age.

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In January 1943 the criteria for selection into the first transport to the Terezin ghetto were specified: among the qualified were, for instance, holders of the first class Iron Cross, holders of relevant Austrian honours, and women who had been decorated as nurses during World War I. They were allowed to take along their husbands and children under the age of 14 as well as others. The set of criteria for the next Terezin transports became then expanded.

Life in Terezin

List of the lectures by prof. dr. Jehuda Lion Palache. PT 4119,  Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

List of the lectures by prof. dr. Jehuda Lion Palache. PT 4119, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

The Dutch were the fourth large group in Terezin that came here after the Protectorate, German and Austrian Jews. Their great hopes and joy arising from the fact that they had not been included in transports to Auschwitz were soon dashed after they discovered that transports to the East departed even from here.
Dutch transports represented a mix of people of different nationalities. There were many German Jews living in the Netherlands since the 1930s, who had fled there as the result of persecution in Germany. Upon arrival in the ghetto, the deported from the Netherlands were divided into two groups by their country of origin, the “German Dutch” and the “Dutch Dutch” (as was the case in Westerbork too). The German Dutch were more involved in the camp life and in work. They had no problem in terms of language. Many of them met here their friends from the time before their emigration. Those already aware of the situation in the ghetto helped them to get better work and provided them with valuable information essential for life here.
The Dutch Dutch were in terms of language slightly disadvantaged. Those Dutch coming from wealthier and more educated classes also usually spoke good German, since before the war there had been put an emphasis on teaching languages in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, the life of poorer Jews, uneducated workers, was harder in Terezin for their ignorance of German language, and they had to make themselves understood in any possible way. Often they learnt some Czech words too.

Photo of M. Roman on the commemorative note for K. Herrmann. PT 4185, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Photo of M. Roman on the commemorative note for K. Herrmann. PT 4185, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Good relationships among prisoners in the camps in general were never the interest of the Nazis – disintegrated community brings always better conditions for obtaining “material” for transports to the East. In Terezin, this idea was supported, after the arrival of Dutch transports in the winter of 1944, by the fact that about 3,000 women deported from the Protectorate had to move out of the Hamburg barracks where they had lived until that time because of the newcomers. That naturally cast bad light on them. Moreover, the Dutch were not usually housed in the ghetto together, which also made it more difficult for them to cultivate cohesion.
Only a few children from the Dutch transports were placed into children homes. It is very likely that their parents were informed of this possibility, but in the new situation upon the arrival of transports, when they felt mostly hungry, tired, and after they had been deprived of most of their property, at that moment they had no wish to put their children in youth and children homes. In spring and summer 1944 rabbi Jehuda Palache co-organized Dutch classes. Short time there was also a Dutch preschool in operation, and a Dutch children home for children up to 14 years was formed in the Hamburg barracks where large part of the Dutch was staying. Its capacity reached up to 100 children.

Flyer announcing the existence of the Swing orchestra in the ghetto with Martin Roman as a leader. PT 3979, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Flyer announcing the existence of the Swing orchestra in the ghetto with Martin Roman as a leader. PT 3979, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

The Dutch considered the Terezin diet insufficient, but according to the notes in their diaries, they were pleasantly surprised by the Czech cuisine, especially by “buchtičky se šodó“(sweet buns in custard sauce) and dumplings. The Dutch quite successfully joined the illegal trading in the ghetto. They changed for money, exchanged their personal belongings – e.g. a lipstick for half bread. Another of the Dutch working in the vegetable garden at the Small Fortress offered smuggled vegetables throughout the summer of 1944. For that reason he wore specially adapted long tights.
Among the distinct personalities who came to Terezin from the Netherlands was e.g. Jo Spier. Even here he was a draftsman and worked in the drawing room. Many Dutch people found jobs in the health care in the ghetto. After the departure of autumn transports in 1944, they took over the abandoned positions of health professionals. Jews from the Dutch transports were to a large extent active in music, lecturing and cabaret performances. Film director Kurt Gerron and jazz pianist Martin Roman, both German Jews, significantly contributed to the cultural history of the ghetto.
Around 2,800 Dutch people were deported from Terezin to Auschwitz. 163 Dutch found their death in Terezin.

Flyer announcing the performance of Machiel Gobetse in the ghetto. (Before the war he was a briliant singer, he was a member of the royal opera in the Netherlands.)PT 4219, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Flyer announcing the performance of Machiel Gobetse in the ghetto. (Before the war he was a briliant singer, he was a member of the royal opera in the Netherlands.)PT 4219, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Caricature of Machiel Gobets. PT 4180, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Caricature of Machiel Gobets. PT 4180, Památník Terezín, Heřmanova sbírka, © Zuzana Dvořáková

Seminars of 1st Grade for Teachers – Spring 2013

In the spring, within 15 – 17th March and 22 – 24th March 2013, two first-grade workshops for teachers on “How to teach about the Holocaust” took place in Terezin. This year’s 14th run was attended by a total of 85 Czech teachers. They arrived in Terezin not only to broaden their knowledge about the Holocaust and to gain new experience in this field, but also to learn new methodology and to exchange their existing knowledge with colleagues from all over the country.

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Along with the Education Department of the Terezin Memorial, the seminars are organized also by the Department for Education and Culture of the Jewish Museum in Prague and the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno. Thanks to this diverse representation the seminar participants learnt not only about the issue of the Holocaust and Terezin, but also about the history of Jewish settlement in the Czech lands, European anti-Semitism, psychological aspects of genocide, and not least about the Roma Holocaust with regard to Roma history, traditions and customs.
The seminars are financed by the Czech Ministry of Education; a total of 1,800 teachers have attended them since 2000.

Ha

Terezin Memorial Activities

1st September 2013  -  Kever Avot Commemoration at 11 am, crematorium at the Jewish cemetery

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