Opening the Reconstructed Premises of the Columbarium of the Former Terezín Ghetto

Newly open to public areas of the columbarium of the Ghetto Terezín, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Newly open to public areas of the columbarium of the Ghetto Terezín, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.


On the occasion of the remembrance events marking the 75th anniversary of the start of deportations of the Jewish inhabitants from the Protectorate, additional premises of the former Columbarium in Terezín, where cinerary urns containing the mortal remains of dead inmates had been kept during the time of the Ghetto, were ceremonially opened on October 17. At this event, speeches were delivered by Dr. Jan Munk, Director of the Terezín Memorial, Mrs. Hana Rožcová, Deputy Mayor of Terezín, and Mrs. Dagmar Lieblová, Chairwoman of the Terezín Initiative. The latter, a former Ghetto inmate, recollected the years spent in the Ghetto and stressed the role of Holocaust survivors, namely in passing on the testimony of this chapter in history to the young generations. The rally was also attended by former Terezín Ghetto prisoners with their family members, officials of the US Embassy in Prague and Mr. Gary Koren, Ambassador of the State of Israel, who, after the opening ceremony, visited the newly reconstructed premises in a guided tour accompanied by comments by Dr. Vojtěch Blodig, Deputy Director of the Terezín Memorial for Research and Education.

Dagmar Lieblová during the opening ceremony of the renovated areas of the columbarium, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.

Dagmar Lieblová during the opening ceremony of the renovated areas of the columbarium, October 2016, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín.


Following on from there, the participants moved to the Ghetto Museum cinema to hear a chamber music concert. Its opening part featured the performance of a Dutch children’s ensemble called Revesz trio, whose repertoire includes folk melodies Shalom Aleichem and Hevenu Shalom, work of the Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch From Jewish Life, and the composition Wiegala, written by former Terezín inmate Ilse Weber. The second part of the concert included performance by Czech violinist Jaroslav Svěcený, accompanied by pianist Václav Mácha, of a transcription by Jascha Heifetz of George Gerschwin´s melodies from the opera Porgy and Bess, followed by Svěcený´s own composition inspired by Terezín T-Dream for Violin, two melodies by John Williams from the feature film The Schindler List, and two parts of the Sonata for Violin, composed by the Shoa victim Erwin Schulhoff. The whole commemorative event ended with a meeting in the attic premises of the Magdeburg Barracks.

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S příchodem nacistů se mé dětské mysli otevřely podivné obzory. Uvědomil jsem si, že nelze spontánně ctít starosty, radní, duchovní, soudce, učitele, různé přednosty, ale že si naši úctu musí zasloužit. Vždyť někteří z těch, které jsem míval v oblibě, zvedali pravici k poctě vůdce a později pilně vstupovali do komunistické strany. Začal jsem brzy lidi třídit. — Tom Luke, Kolektiv autorů: Pokoj 127, Domov mládeže Q708, Terezín, Gymnázium Plzeň a o.s. HUMR, 2007, s. 89.