March of the Living – November 24, 2021
On November 24, 2021 the Terezín Memorial staged a symbolic “March of the Living” to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the deportations of the inhabitants of Jewish origin to the Terezín Ghetto (November 24, 1941).
The ceremony opened at 4 p.m. in front of the train station at Bohušovice nad Ohří. Up to June 1943 this was the destination where the deportees had to get off the transport trains and walk to the nearby Terezín. Beginning in the summer of 1943, trains started running straight into the Ghetto along a railway siding built by the inmates at the order of the SS command.
After short addresses delivered by Terezín Memorial Director Jan Roubínek and his deputy Vojtěch Blodig on the events that happened there 80 years ago, the participants set out on a march along the main road to Terezín, walking along the same route as the first deportees. Each individual in the memorial march from the Bohušovice train station held a lit candle in his or her hand. The candles were then laid down in Terezín at the memorial plaque near the remnants of the original railway siding. This is where the cultural program of the commemorative rally began. Students from the school Gymnázium Přírodní škola o. p. s. in Prague, led by their principal František Tichý, sang poems by Hanuš Hachenburg (1929–1944) set to music. As a matter of interest, the poems were published in the boys´ magazine Vedem, issued in the years 1942–1944 in the Ghetto by a group of boys around Hanuš´s friend Petr Ginz. Mrs. Michaela Vidláková, a Terezín Ghetto survivor, sang one of the songs along with the choir. The final performer in the evening was Bente Kahan, a Norwegian singer, who sang a musicalized poem, originally written by Ghetto inmate Ilse Weber and called Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt.
In addition to general audience, the event was attended by representatives of the Terezín Initiative, Federation of Jewish Communities, and Jewish Community in Prague; also present were the Ambassadors of Austria and Germany, Mayor of Terezín René Tomášek, Mayoress of Bohušovice nad Ohří Kamila Čvančarová, as well as officials from the Foundation for Holocaust Victims or the Eternal Hope Foundation.