A couple of days ago I posted a picture of Charles Bridge in Prague. The river Vltava was of course present in that photo but I thought we could take a closer look at it today.
Back in 2013 we visited Prague for a couple of days. It sure is a great and beautiful city. For more texts about it and additional pictures I kindly refer you to the category called Prague where you can see my previous posts. It already contains some pictures of Charles Bridge and here’s another one of this magnificent land mark. This time the picture was taken from a small island in the river Vltava, close to the bridge
The day before yesterday I promised you more pictures from the Small Fortress outside of Theresienstadt but unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep that promise. I hope that a day late is good enough for you.
‘Arbeit macht frei’. The same message as in Auschwitz met the prisoners here as well. It was of course a lie and there wasn’t anything the poor people could do about their horrible fate.
I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of this room was but it looks like some kind of examination room. I doubt that it was for the prisoners though.
A room full of rusty old beds. Yet again I’m not sure who used them. All I know is that lots of swallows use the empty rooms for their nests.
The remains of an old swimming pool. This was used by the Nazis for leisure on the spare time.
A couple of minutes walk from Theresienstadt a fortification called the Small Fortress can be found. It was built between 1780 and 1790 and served as a prison and penitentiary for army and political prisoners. If it had stayed at that the Small Fortress would probably have played a much smaller part in history.
As you can probably guess, it didn’t. The most tragic chapter in its history came during the occupation by Nazi Germany from 1939 until the end of the Second World War in 1945. The nazis began housing enemies of their regime; at first Jews and Gypsies from across the third Reich and later Partisans (Czech resistance fighters) and members of the illegal communist party. During all those years the prison was run by the Gestapo and more than 32000 prisoners passed through its gates. For most of them the Small Fortress was a stop on their way to other Nazi prisons or concentration camps where they would perish later on. Thousands of prisoners also died in the prison from a combination of overwork, undernourishment, disease and brutality from the guards.
The Small Fortress is today a museum in which you can walk around and experience. It is well worth a visit even though it’s a bit of a hassle to get there by bus. More pictures of our visit will be posted tomorrow.
The National Cemetery was set up shortly after 1945 and stands in the foreground of the Small Fortress. The bodies of the prison, the Theresienstadt Ghetto, The Litoměřice Concentration camp and death transports from Lovosice were buried in individual and, later on, mass graves.
Same as all over Europe many Jews were murdered in Theresienstadt and the Small Fortress.
These white clothes were part of an Installation created by Kamila Ženatá at the Small Fortress.
Just outside of Terezín, or Theresienstadt as the town is more likely known to the general public, there’s a river called Eger, or Ohře as it is called in Czech. The first time we passed this place I wanted to take a picture of it but since we came by bus I wasn’t able to do it until after our visit to Theresienstadt. After taking the first picture you see below I suddenly saw a little head breaking the surface. It came as a complete surprise to me to find someone swimming in a place like this but on some level I was rather jealous of him. It was a really hot day that day!
About two years ago I posted a picture from Berlin of another Stolperstein. This summer we visited Prague and it didn’t surprise me to find Stolpersteine in the streets here as well. The text below is from my previous post.
Stolperstein is a German word which means “stumbling block” or “obstacle” in English. In this case stolperstein refers to the small cobblestone-sized memorials that can be found in pavements in Berlin, other German cities and even other countries throughout Europe. Each brass cobblestone represents the life of a Jewish person murdered during the 2nd World War. The stones have all been laid out, like regular cobblestones, in the pavement outside the house where the murdered person used to live. Later on the project expanded to cover all who were murdered by the nazi’s like homosexuals, disabled people etc.
This all started back in 1994 when the artist Gunter Demnig got the idea and placed his first stolperstein in Cologne. From that day another 30.000 have been laid out in the pavements in different European cities and, to this date, the number is still growing.
I think stolpersteine is a beautiful idea. Whenever I saw one of those stones I got reminded of a dark past not that long ago but even more so, I got reminded of a single and unique person who would otherwise be lost in the grim and horrible statistics we find in our history books.
Tančící dům or the Dancing House is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building in Prague, Czech Republic. Nationale-Nederlanden is one of the largest insurance companies of the Netherlands. The “Dancing House” is set on a property of great historical significance. Its site was the location of a house destroyed by the U.S.bombing of Prague back in 1945. The plot and structure lay decrepit until 1960 when the area was cleared but after that nothing seemed to happen until 1996 when the construction of the house was finally cvompleted.On top of the right building is a large twisted structure of metal called Medusa, which I personally think looks like a bird’s nest.