Never before had I come face to face with a yard having a gallows frame. Walked through the half kilometre, yes 500 metres, long, cold dark tunnel to face the area of execution. When a prisoner walked through this tunnel at the end what awaited was hanging or being shot. This really happened and not so long ago.
Concentration camp, ghettos, death all around, living in fear , no freedom -it really was surreal to realise how fortunate are the times now compared to the 1940 s. It was Schindler List coming to life as we walked through the fortress of Terezin.
We took a day trip to Terezin from Prague. Could have been easier to take a chartered tour but my kids love adventure- my daughter was adamant that we will find our way. Main train station in Prague and buy tickets then decide which train to take and which platform, the challenge was language. Very few people talk English. The ticket guy was helpful, he printed things in English so at least we got on the correct train.
Beautiful train and amazing country side, all the way going near a waterway and hills in the backdrop, with very light green leaves in trees coming through, giving the best views of spring. Cream walls and red roof houses dotted around. Spectacular little towns that we crossed and reached Bohusovice.
Not a single soul to be seen but then station master came out and gave us some idea in czech which way to walk for the concentration camp. Walking through a little unknown town and complete language barrier , it was exciting.
Found a small shop and one old woman in there -bought a Mirinda and some pretzels with some broken Czech directions to walk straight ,straight and straight . Rightly so . It was such a beautiful town.
A forty minute walk and then we reached the Terezín camp. The whole experience was unbelievable.To see the actual bunkers, sinks, showers, toilets in the ghetto areas while the prisoners were in transit but then people were executed in that camp or many died . We all realised that we were so fortunate to talk, think, speak and live freely. We take freedom for granted but seeing a camp like this, makes me feel we absolutely must learn from history, so that we never again come to situations where normal citizens became prisoners only because of their race, religion or colour.
The day was an overwhelming experience for us – foreign country, unknown language for speaking as well as the signposts, how did we reach our destination- brings a smile to my face . The whole experience of death, hatred and killings in the second world war was so surreal and believable. Movies, books and history came to life. Legs and ankles hurting and on our way back-trying to massage each other’s very tired legs- brought us back safely to Prague. The European train journey experience at dusk was so calm and lovely.
Nothing can beat an adventure and memories of a concentration camp like this .