Terezin ghetto and concentration camp falling 'deeper into ruin'

With Theresienstadt ghetto and concentration camp falling apart, scholars worry that evidence of the Holocaust in danger of disappearing.

Dan Verbin ,

Theresienstadt mill Terezin
Theresienstadt mill Terezin

Terezin, the Czech site of the Theresienstadt ghetto and concentration camp where 150,000 Jews were imprisoned and 35,000 killed during the Holocaust, is in such disrepair it is being described as falling into ruin.

According to a BBC report by Prague correspondent Rob Cameron, the town of Terezin lost most of its financial resources several years ago after the area’s biggest employer, the Czech military, moved elsewhere.

There is a worry that with the crumbling of the ghetto and concentration camp, the country’s Holocaust-era past maybe forgotten.

Simon Krbec of the Theresienstadt Centre for Genocide Studies told the BBC that he is very frustrated by the lack of will to keep the site from deteriorating.

“These walls, this building this is the evidence. And without evidence, there is no Holocaust,” he said.

While Terezin still supports a place of remembrance in the “small fortress,” formerly a Gestapo prison, that sees thousands of annual visitors, with limited resources “every year these buildings connected with the Holocaust fall deeper into ruin.”

Theresienstadt was also used as a transit camp, with 88,000 Jews transported from there to death camps, such as Auschwitz.

Today, the barracks of the transit camp are described as “crumbling.”

The Theresienstadt ghetto was infamously used in a 1944 Nazi propaganda film titled “Theresienstadt,” an “elaborate PR effort” that purported to show that the Jews there led a “happy, content existence, rich in culture and sport.”

Shortly after the film was produced, nearly all of the participants were dead, including the director.