“Theresienstadt family camp” — temporary exhibition
The exhibition is devoted to the history of the ghetto established by the Nazis in the Czech Terezin (Theresienstadt) and the fate of Jews deported from Terezin to the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz. It can be seen in the temporary exhibition hall located in block 12 at the Museum.
The exhibition consists of 29 panels. On these are texts, photographs and photocopies of archival documents and works of art. In three languages — Polish, English and Czech — basic information is shown, such as the history of Terezin, as well as the creation of the ghetto, designed by the Germans under great propaganda. A large part of the exhibition is devoted to the fate of Jews deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, where on 8 September 1943, at section BIIb Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a special family camp was established for them.
Men and boys were placed in the even-numbered barracks, and women with children in the odd. The prisoners could keep their luggage and wear civilian clothes, and they did not have to shave their heads. Prisoners performed various jobs, mainly to do with the completion of the camp, the women also worked in the weaving mill, where they sewed machine gun belts from the textile waste, and many also worked outside the “family camp”. Many hours of backbreaking work and famine led to a very high mortality rate of the prisoners of the Familienlager Theresienstadt. From Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, Germany transported 24 shipments of more than 46,000 Jews, of which about 18,000 were sent to the camp family.
The exhibition tells the story of the living conditions of the prisoners in Birkenau, and it also describes in detail the liquidation of the camp, which took place on 10-12 July 1944. At that time, 7,000 people were killed in the gas chambers. Much of the exhibition is dedicated to the children deported from Theresienstadt and murdered there.
The exhibition was prepared by the museum in Terezin. At the Auschwitz Memorial Site, it can be seen until 4th October, from 11 am. to 5 pm.
Account of Very Foltýnová on the liquidation of the family camp for Jews in Theresienstadt:
[...] And then the evening came, where we saw each other through the fence — for the last time. Mother was crying, and she told me they organised some kind of transportation. They had to pull me back from the fence by force. At night, during the liquidation of the prisoners from the BIIb section, we knew about the crimes being carried out, because the vehicles also drove past our section — toward the crematorium buildings. This went on all night. Then I learned how they lied to people in the BIIb section. They were told that they would be taken to the station, at which they will be loaded into cattle cars, where they will go to work in the village of Heydenbreck. And so my mother died, at the age of 58. For a long time I was angry with myself. When my mother was still in the BIIb section, she wrote me in one of her secret messages that she was ill, that she was able to get to the infirmary, where she would be taken care of by a Czech physician employed there. She was to be operated on. I wrote her back, advising her not to voluntarily report to the sick ward, as I knew from experience the fate of prisoners who went to the ward. Meanwhile, when the prisoners were being liquidated in the Bllb section, only the medical staff and patients survived. I do not know if the mother survived the operation, but the fact remains — I was advised against it, and the memory of that event stays with me to this day […]”.
Source: APMA-B, Group Statements, vol. 78, pp. 191-192.