To mark the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Ghetto in Terezín, the Memorial staged a scientific conference ”The Terezín Ghetto and the Police Prison in Terezín in the Repressive System of the Occupation Power (1940–1945)“ on November 1 and 2, 2021. The working seminar, marking the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Police Prison Terezín, originally scheduled for June 2020, had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this year´s event gave us an opportunity to combine both topics and put them into a broader historical framework.
Taking part in the conference were colleagues from a number of specialized institutions (Terezín Memorial, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Military History Institute, Jewish Museum in Prague, National Archive in Prague, State District Archive in Litoměřice, North Bohemian Museum in Liberec, Documentation Center for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WWII Victims, a public benevolent society, Moravian Business College Olomouc, Department of Social and Clinical Pharmacy of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Charles University in Hradec Králové, and the Department of History of the Faculty of Education of the Technical University in Liberec etc.), as well as colleagues from abroad (Muzeum Stutthof w Sztutowie and the Westerbork Memorial Centre), joining our proceedings online. Thanks to the participation of a varied range of researchers from diverse institutions the conference offered truly rich and meaningful discussions.
In addition to papers portraying individual aspects of both repressive facilities established in Terezín in 1940 and 1941, the conference also heard interesting stories of people persecuted by the occupation regime or cases describing forms of postwar retribution justice. Some participants presented their research projects, complete with methodological starting points, objectives and current or envisaged outputs. For instance, our colleagues Jan Vajskebr and Jan Zumr from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes outlined the current status, perspectives and source base for the research focused on the Gestapo activities, its structure and personnel in the occupied Czech lands. For his part, Tomáš Jelínek from the Moravian University in Olomouc introduced novel statistical approaches and methods in interpreting historical data. Selected papers will be published next year in the Memorial´s specialized journal, the Terezín Yearbook No. 50/2022, or in an electronic version here.
Generally, the international conference can be described as a success. In addition to its interesting papers and lively discussions, the gathering offered a forum for informal personal meetings during which the existing good mutual relations among the delegates were further promoted and new contacts were established, auguring well for future cooperation.