The town of Terezín in central Bohemian has lost an EU grant to build a visitors’ parking lot, the town mayor told the news agency ČTK on Saturday. Terezín was to receive funds from an EU’s regional operational programme to build a parking lot in front of its tourist information centre, located near its historic fortifications; however, the town will fail to invest 10 percent of the grant by the end of July, the mayor said, adding that the town will apply for a new grant in the next round of applications. Around 220,000 people visit Terezín each year, the site of a former Nazi concentration camp and a ghetto for European Jews.
Hana Dubová was a Jewish girl from the town of Kolín living a normal, happy life surrounded by family and friends. She was just 14 when this carefree existence was brought to an abrupt end by the Nazi occupation. Hana was put on a train to Denmark, escaping with her bare life, never to see her friends and family again and unaware of the fact that she would move alone from place to place for eleven long years before she found a new home. Her American daughter Janet and granddaughter Rachael recently visited Europe to trace Hana’s footsteps and reconnect
On the eve of the Second World War, a 29-year-old British stockbroker by the name of Nicholas Winton, went to extraordinary lengths to save 669 mostly Czech Jewish children by getting them out of Nazi-occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Learning of the plight of the children and their families, Winton organised the so-called kindertransport which left from Prague’s main station, travelling through Nazi Germany to Holland and finally to Great Britain, where the children were taken in by adoptive families. They were saved from the Holocaust but many never
Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669 children by bringing them out of German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, is to receive the Order of the White Lion, the Czech Republic’s highest state distinction. President Miloš Zeman’s office announced the news on the occasion of Sir Nicholas Winton’s 105th birthday. Winton organized train transports of Jewish children from Czechoslovakia to Britain in 1939, securing departure permits from the German authorities, entry permits from Britain and their admission to British families. The children would otherwise have ended up in concentration camps and gas chambers. Czech top officials have repeatedly nominated Sir Nicholas Winton for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Speaking at an annual memorial ceremony on the site of the former Terezín concentration camp in central Bohemia on Sunday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the Nazi concentration camp was a memento of the extremities of which the civilized world was capable under the influence of nationalism, racism and xenophobia. He warned against turning a blind eye to these tendencies in present-day Europe and said politicians must be wary of the conditions in which extremism flourishes. The ceremony at Terezín was traditionally attended by politicians, church dignitaries, war veterans and members of the public. Around 155,000 Jews were interned at Terezín during the war years; two-thirds of them did not survive the war.
You might not expect the memoirs of a 19th century Jewish shopkeeper in a small Bohemian town to make for gripping reading, but Šimon Wels, who was born in 1853, was no ordinary shopkeeper. His account of his life and the lives of those around him draws us into a lost world. Not only is Wels a wonderful storyteller, but he also writes with a remarkable literary sophistication. The book is full of humour and local colour, but is also rich in literary references and there are numerous asides, where the author comments on the prejudices and social
German President Joachim Gauck on Wednesday concludes his official three-day visit to the Czech Republic. Together with his host, Czech President Miloš Zeman, Mr Gauck paid homage to the victims of Nazism at the former concentration camp in Terezín. But he also recalled the fate of millions of ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War.
The German president, Joachim Gauck, visited the former WWII ghetto and concentration camp at Terezín in central Bohemia on Tuesday afternoon. He was accompanied by his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, who said Mr. Gauck’s visit followed logically from his 2012 visit to Lidice. The German head of state viewed the small fortress at Terezín, which the Prague Gestapo used as a prison. Around 155,000 people, almost all of the Jewish, passed through Terezín in the course of the war; nearly 120,000 died, around 35,000 of them at Terezín itself. Prague’s Rabbi Karel Sidon, who brought Tuesday’s memorial ceremony to a close, said he regarded Mr. Gauck’s visit not as a mere gesture but an expression of interest. The German head of state is on a three-day state visit to the Czech Republic.
A number of Czech towns and cities marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday with traditional outdoor ceremonies at which the names of Holocaust victims are read out by politicians, church dignitaries and leading cultural figures. In the Czech capital the ceremony took place at Prague’s Náměstí Míru square attended among others by the minister for human rights and minorities, Jiří Dienstbier, the Israeli ambassador to Prague Garz Koren and others. The event, held for the 9th year now, is jointly organized by the Foundation for Holocaust Victims and the Terezín Initiative Institute. Of Czechoslovakia’s pre-war Jewish population of 350,000, 250,000 died during the Holocaust.
A group of young actors from Philadelphia in the US visited the Czech Republic last week to give a performance at the former Nazi concentration camp of Terezín. They staged I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a play based on poetry written by child inmates of the camp, at the Attic Theatre in Terezín, the very space where some of the play’s characters performed seven decades ago.