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Nordwand
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Arrow

©WILDFISCH

©WILDFISCH

 

Date of Origin: July 1944

Many prisoners left their signatures on the walls of the fortress gate, Poterne 3, and this photograph confirms the fact. However, only a few carved their full names into the stone. One of them was Wilhelm Wolf Waltuch. His name and the arrow were most likely made by him.

The arrow next to Wilhelm Waltuch’s name points to a small work of art. Was it also made by Waltuch? It is certain that this picture was created during the ghetto existence. The numerals and letters in the corners of the frame spell the date JULY 1944. In the middle, despite visible attempts at destruction, there is still a recognizable scutcheon or a small flower within a circle.

Wilhelm Waltuch während eines Urlaubs in Italien © Kay Sharpe

Wilhelm Waltuch during a vacation in Italy © Kay Sharpe

Wilhelm Waltuch, 53, along with his wife Berta, were deported on October 9, 1942 to Terezín. Waltuch remained in the ghetto for two years. On October 23, 1944 he and his wife were deported to Auschwitz where they perished. The exact circumstaces of their death are not known. On the basis of their age, it can be surmised that immediately upon arrival, they were murdered in the gas chambers.

The couple had three children, Adolf, Gertrude and Hedda. The children had a secure and happy childhood. However, that changed drastically with the annexation of Austria by the German Reich. Due to Aryanization Wilhelm lost not only his position as a director of the largest movie house in the Viennese 17th district, but also the movie house itself, of which he was a co-owner, and which was liquidated in 1939.

 The Waltuch family © Kay Sharpe

Familie Waltuch © Kay Sharpe

The demise of the family happened in stages. After Waltuch was dispossessed, the family was forced to vacate their apartment in the Favoritenstrasse 12. This was the best address in central Vienna. Wilhelm and Berta remained until their deportation in a collection place for Jews, in the Novaragasse 40/26, where many Jewish families had to endure cramped conditions, in tight quarters, until their deportation.

Thanks to work permits, the daughters were able to leave, in time, for England. Hedda left on March 15; her sister Gertrude on
April 4, 1939. Both survived the Holocaust.

 


Wilhelm Wolf Waltuch

  • Born January 26, 1889 in Zagrabela, near Tarnopol, now in Ukraine
  • Last residence: Vienna
  • Transport IV/12, October 10,1942 from Vienna to Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport Et, October 23, 1944 from Theresienstadt/Terezín to Auschwitz/Oświęcim
Berta Waltuch, geb. Itzigsohn

  • Born September 27, 1890 in Vienna
  • Last residence: Vienna
  • Transport IV/13, October 10, 1942 from Vienna to Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport Et, October 23, 1944 from Theresienstadt/Terezín to Auschwitz/Oświęcim/

 



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Coveted Object

Date of Origin: Nov. 1944 – June 1945

©Wildfisch (2005) and Památník Terezín A 1900 (photographed in 1945)

© Wildfisch (2005) and Památník Terezín A 1900 (photographed in 1945)

Hidden in a niche, we have to look very carefully in order to recognize a female shape. It is only a few centimeters in size. This erotic pose is exactly 70 years old, as a photo taken in 1945 proves. The color of the sandstone indicates that the relief was probably created in the spring of 1945. We can only speculate that this creation was a prisoner’s attempt to immortalize himself.

 

 

 

 

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Death March

Date of Origin: Nov. 1942 – Dec. 1943

©WILDFISCH

©WILDFISCH (2014)

Survivor: This inscription was probably made by Richard or Jiří Meisl from Tábor.

A total of 1268 Jews from Tábor and the neighboring area were deported to Theresienstadt in November 1942. Only 70 Jews from Tábor survived the Holocaust, including Richard and Jiří Meisl.

The brothers were first deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau family camp on 19 Dec. 1943. Seven months later, they were transferred into a labor detachment of the Sachsenhausen satellite camp, Schwarzheide, on 3 July 1944. [1] Prisoners were responsible for rebuilding the facilities of the energy supplier Braunkohle-Benzin AG (BRABAG) following allied air raids.

With the front moving closer, work was terminated and prisoners were “shipped” back to Theresienstadt. During the march that lasted three weeks, prisoners were at the mercy of SS guards. A majority of prisoners died as a result of mistreatment, arbitrary execution or utter exhaustion. Thus the name: Death March.

There existed many death marches. They were often the last opportunity for guards to vent their potential for violence. The marches were intended as a means to destroy evidence and avoid enemy capture.

Prisoners arrived to Warnsdorf (North Bohemia) on 5 May. Here, the Jewish prisoners were then loaded onto open coal-cars. Richard and Jiří were already marching for two weeks. In Böhmisch Leipa (Česká Lípa) the rail cars were pushed onto a side-track: “There was a downpour and there we stood, in open rail cars, crammed together and drenched – each starving and, one by one collapsing – dying from utter exhaustion.” [2]

The train finally arrived in Leitmeritz (Litomĕřice) on 7 May. The prisoners had to march the rest of the way to Theresienstadt, just a couple of kilometers away. [3] On 8 May (the day of Germany’s capitulation) the SS-guards abandoned their posts. Prisoners were left to their own devices. With the little strength they had left, Richard und Jiří made their way back into the liberated Theresienstadt Ghetto.

Of the 1000 prisoners who were forced on the death march from Schwarzheide, approximately 200 survived. [4]

 


  • Richard Meisl
  • Born 22 Sept.1913 in Aujest/Červený Újezd
  • Transport Cb / 16 Nov.1942 / Tabor/Tábor – Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport Dr / 15 Dec.1943 / Theresienstadt/Terezín – Auschwitz /Oświęcim
  • Place of liberation: Theresienstadt/Terezín, 8 Apr. 1945
  • Jiří Meisl
  • Born 4 Jul.1921 in Aujest/Červený Újezd
  • Transport Cb / 16 Nov. 1942 / Tabor/Tábor – Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport Dr / 15 Dec. 1943 / Theresienstadt/Terezín – Auschwitz/Oświęcim
  • Place of liberation: Theresienstadt/Terezín, 8 April 1945

 



[1] For those who want to read more: Thomas Irmer: Zwangsarbeit von jüdischen KZ-Häftlingen in der Rüstungsproduktion in der Region Berlin-Brandenburg in der Schlussphase des Zweiten Weltkrieges – die Außenlager Glöwen und Schwarzheide des KZ Sachsenhausen (Forced Labor of Jewish Concentration Camp Prisoners in the Armaments Industry in the Berlin-Brandenburg Region in the Last Phases of the Second World War – The Satellite Camps of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – Glöwen and Schwarzheide): Winfried Meyer, Klaus Neitmann (publ.): Zwangsarbeit während der NS-Zeit in Berlin und Brandenburg. Formen, Funktion und Rezeption (Forced Labor during the National Socialist Period in Berlin and Brandenburg. Form, Function and Reception). Verlag für Berlin und Brandenburg, Potsdam 2001, ISBN 3-932981-31-6, S. 163–175
[2] See Erich Kessler: Ein Theresienstädter Tagebuch (A Theresienstadt Diary), Der Theresienstädter 20. April 1945 und die Tage danach (The Theresienstaeder 20 April 1945 and the days after), In: Theresienstädter Dokumente 1995, Prague 1995, p. 316
[3] Timeline of the death marches: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/KZ-Au%C3%9Fenlager_Schwarzheide, Abfrage 7.4.2015
[4] Cf. Alfred Kantor: Das Buch des Alfred Kantor (The Book of Alfred Kantor), New York 1971.

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Final Station

Date of Origin: July 1943 – October 1944

©WILDFISCH

©WILDFISCH (2014)

The inscription „B. NETTL  1943/4 G.W. 19” was left by Benno Nettl (born 9.19.1896). It confirms that Nettl was a member of the ghetto police (Ghettowache), No. 19.

He came to the ghetto on July 5, 1943 with the „De“ transport from Prague. Then he was a member of the Ghettowache, the ghetto police.

A year later, in August 1944, the Gestapo arrested Benno Nettl, his wife Anna, son Mirko, and daughter Hana. They were moved to the nearby Small Fortress, the infamous Gestapo prison.

(To those Jews who were taken there, death came quickly. Exposed to the unbridled sadism of the SS, many died due to brutal violence. Prisoners were often tortured to death or executed.)

Benno Nettl ca. 1940-1942 © Igor Nettl

Benno Nettl ca. 1940-1942
© Igor Nettl

The reason for imprisonment of the entire family: Benno Netto was allegedly caught letter smuggling. Benno Nettl had no chance to survive. The circumstances of his death are unknown. He perished on October 20, 1944. His son did survive his arrest either. He died on December 22, 1944 at the age of 20.

Benno Nettl memorialized himself on the south wall of Poterne III in 1944.

 
 
 
 
 


Benno (Benedikt) Nettl

  • Born 9.19.1896 in Roth Retschitz / Červená Řečice, Czechoslovakia
  • Transport De, 7.5.1943 from Prague to Theresienstadt/Terezín
Mirko Nettl

  • Born 2.4.1924, place of birth unknown
  • Transport De, 7.5.1943 from Prague to Theresienstadt/Terezín

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Flowers

Date of Origin: January – October 1944

©Pamatnik Terezín A 1900 (Snímek z roku 1945)

©Pamatnik Terezín A 1900 (Photo 1945)

Not only the choice of the pictorial motif but especially the professional execution of the stone carving stand out. The author knew exactly what he wished to accomplish: ears of grain and various flowers (among them glory morning, cornflower, bell flower, rose-mallowand and  lily-of-the-valley) are arranged around the circular opening.

In the top center there is still a recognizable outline of the Star of David that was already removed in a rough manner in 1945. Further down there is a conspicuous frame with an inscription. The inscription is barely legible due to destruction. Distinctly visible are only the two dates: 12.14. 42 and 1944. [1]

This photo from 1945 confirms without a doubt who left behind the artful stone carving. As an author Karel Russ (born 6.22.1895) ist the only possibility. Russ came from a small town Kyšperk, [2] located in East Bohemia.

Until the Aryanization of Jewish property Karel Russ was a merchant who owned a clothing store. [3] After the expropriation of his property, a deportation followed. Along with his wife Olga, Karel Russ arrived in the ghetto on December 17, 1942 on the Ch transport from Hradec Králové.

Karel’s small artwork was an almost celebratory memento of his stay in Terezín. Naturally on his last day in Terezín he had no time to carve in stone. Therefore, the earlier prepared space (right above the year 1944) remains empty. On September 28, 1944 Karel Russ, during the Autumn Transports, was sent on the Ek transport from Terezín to Auschwitz. There he was most likely murdered soon after arrival. His wife Olga departed the ghetto only a few days later, on October 6, and she met the same
fate.

Their two children, Leo (born 10.2.1918) and Růžena (born 1923) were lucky. Their lives were saved by immigration to England. The precondition was a large sum of money as a guarantee, – a requirement of the British government. The sum was most likely secured and paid by the children’s father.

 


Karel Russ

  • Born 6.22.1895 in Zlosyň, Czechoslovakia
  • Last residence: Kyšperk
  • Transport Ch, 12.17.1942 from Königgrätz/Hradec Králové to Terezín/Theresienstadt
  • Transport Ek, 9.28.1944 from Theresienstadt/Terezín to Auschwitz/Oświęcim
Olga Russová, née Saxl

  • Born 11.14.1895 in Šedivec, Czechoslovakia
  • Last residence: Kyšperk
  • Transport Ch, 12.17.1942 from Königgrätz/Hradec Králové to Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport Eo, 10.6.1944 from Theresienstadt/Terezín to Auschwitz/Oświęcim

 


[1] The date December 14, 1942 does not agree with the date of the transport to Theresienstadt which actually took place three days later, on December 17, 1942.
[2] The Czech town was called Kyšperk until 1950 (Geiersberg in German) after the nearby caste ruin of the same name. The new name is Letohrad and it is located in the region of Ústí nad Orlicí.
[3] Stanislav Adamec: Židé v Kyšperku 1700 – 1945, Letohrad 2001, S.53 f.

 

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One Life – Ernst Gladtke

Date of Origin: Mar. 1943 – Sep. 1944

©WILDFISCH (2014) and Památník Terezín A 1900 (photographed in 1945)

©WILDFISCH (2014) and Památník Terezín A 1900 (photographed in 1945)

Ernst Gladtke’s fate serves an example as it was typical of that of hundreds of thousands of other people in Nazi Germany. Completely ordinary people found themselves personae non gratae who were step-by-step ripped out of society, deprived of their rights and possessions, humiliated and, in the end, liquidated. The merchant Ernst Gladtke was born in Berlin on 1 Sept. 1894.

He was employed as a carpet salesman at Held & Klein Furnishings. In1924 he married Margot, daughter of one of the store’s shareholders. In her memoires, published after the war, Margot raved about the beautiful time, “until Hitler came”. Ernst’s daughter Ellen described him like a typical father from back then and today – strict yet warm-hearted. [1]

Ernst Gladtke often travelled by car as a sales-representative around the country and abroad. Business was good. Chess was his passion and during his many trips he often looked for playing partners at the local chess clubs.

Passbild von Ernst Gladtke ©Margot Gladtke

Passport photo of Ernst Gladtke © Margot Gladtke

The Gladtkes observed the chicanery of the Nazi dictatorship with concern. However, escape was beyond their imagination. In the end of the 1930s, when discrimination bordered on the unbearable, many Jewish acquaintances sent their children to safe-havens abroad. At first Gladtke did not want to hear any of it. “[…] our firm is in such good shape that I will be able to continue to feed my family. However, if you want, go ahead and register them at the Jewish community for this purpose. But I have no intention to send my children away.” [2]

The painful decision to send their children away was made at the beginning of May 1939 when Ellen and Ursel, 13 and 10, bid their farewells to their parents. However, the emigration failed because of missing security: The Gladtkes were in possession of seven affidavits – guarantees made by American citizens. However, they were also required to have several thousand dollars credit on an American bank account – money that they did not possess. [3]

The Gladtkes were conscripted into forced labor in 1940. In 1943 Ernst Gladtke was arrested while at work and incarcerated at an internment camp. As a wounded veteran of the First World War and holder of both the Iron Cross and Medal of Valor, he was assigned to the “preferential” camp Theresienstadt. Several days later and shortly after a bombing raid destroyed the family home and belongings, his wife Margot also received orders to report for transport – “voluntarily”! She left with nothing more than a rucksack and a few pieces of clothing which a doctor gave her to pass along to her husband – patent leather shoes, an evening shirt, a handkerchief and a pair of socks. [4]

The couple met in the ghetto again on 18 March 1943. A short time later, they were separated. Margot was assigned work at the post office and Ernst as a ghetto guard. Although food rations were better there, Ernst suffered greatly from hunger: “A ghetto guard received one and one-half the normal meal portions. Work shifts lasted for four hours – guard duty and resting time, continuous and without leisure time […] Occasionally he would come to me asking for some bread. We received a quarter-loaf of bread for three days but my husband ate it up immediately. He confirmed to me that he could think of nothing other than his hunger.” [5]

After the war, twelve victims of the death march were exhumed and reburied in the Dörschnitz Cemetery – among them, Ernst Gladtke. Photo archive Grahle in Meissen, Nr. 0447, July 1945

After the war, twelve victims of the death march were exhumed and reburied in the Dörschnitz Cemetery – among them, Ernst Gladtke. Photo archive Grahle in Meissen, Nr. 0447, July 1945

The plague of fleas and bed bugs was also unbearable, Margot Gladtke remembered: “Through November, I was able to take my blanket and straw mattress and sleep in the barrack yard. There only the flees bit us. The bed bugs stayed behind. In the morning, I could often gouge 20 to 40 gorged fleas from my wool blanket. The worst thing was that we could not scratch ourselves for fear of becoming infected with impetigo [a bacterial skin disease] that often had fatal consequences. My husband could not sleep. The mere creeping of bugs on his skin bothered him.” [6]

Ernst Gladtke was deported to Auschwitz on 28 Sept. 1944. During the selection, which took place two days after arrival, he was deemed suitable for labor and assigned to the Buchenwald camp. He arrived there 10 days later, on 10 Oct. By claiming to be a professional welder, Gladtke was assigned to forced labor at the HASAG-Works. [7] The arms manufacturer was the only producer of bazookas during the Second World War. As the front moved closer, the satellite camp was disbanded, on 13 and 14 April, and the prisoners forced on a death march. Ernst Gladtke was among them. [7]

He was able to hold out for several days. But then exhaustion most likely took its toll, killing him at the side of the road. He was only 50 years old. Along with eleven other prisoners, Ernst Gladtke was buried in a sand pit near the town of Roitsch (Saxony). On 1 Juli 1945, the corpses were exhumed and ceremoniously reburied and the cemetery in Dörschnitz. [8]

Margot Gladtke was lucky. She remained in Theresienstadt until the end of the war. She was reunited with her daughters in England, six years after having seen them off. She immigrated to England in the autumn of 1947 and later settled in the United States.

 


  • Ernst Gladtke
  • Born 1 Sept. 1894 in Berli
  • Last residence: Berlin
  • Transport I/90 / 18.3.1943 / Berlin – Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport Ek / 28.9.1944 / Theresienstadt/Terezín – Auschwitz/Oświęcim
  • Last known whereabouts: Taucha, near Leipzig
  • Prisoner’s number in Buchenwald concentration camp: 92799
  • Died on 24 April 1945 near Roitzsch (Saxony)
  • Margot Gladtke
  • Born 19 Nov.1902
  • Last residence: Berlin
  • Transport I/90 / 18.3.1943 / Berlin – Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Liberated in Theresienstadt/Terezín on 8 May 1945

 



[1] Margot Gladtke: For My Children and Grandchildren (unpublished memoires). All rights belong to Ellen Alexander, New York
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] ITS Archiv Doc.Nr.5285537#1
[8] Escapade Youth Project: Auf den Spuren der Häftlingsnummer 92799 (On the Trail of Prisoner Number 92799), Robert Hartzsch Publisher, 2011

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Place of Remembrance

Date of Origin: 1944

©Pamatnik Terezín A 1900 (photographed in 1945)

© Pamatnik Terezín A 1896 (photographed in 1945)

The centrally placed triangle and deep engraved oval frame with the dates 1941-1944 indicate the special status of this inscription.

The photo from 1945 proves that the entire part of the southern wall was purposely chosen and designed by the ghetto guards as a place for producing a collective place of remembrance. Text and its elegance remind us of a typical memorial plaque. The original Czech inscription states:

  • Inscription:
  • PAMATCE
  • na
  • Pobyt
  • 1941–1944
  • Translation:
  • IN REMEMBRANCE
  • of
  • the stay
  • 1941–1944

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Survivor

Date of Origin: May 8, 1944

©WILDFISCH

© WILDFISCH (2011)

Similarly at this place a group of letters and numbers stands out: AAd 682. It is an important identification of the graffiti creator. The designation is of the AAd transport that left Kolín for Terezín on June 13, 1942, and the prison number 682 is that of Jaroslav Žatečka, born on May 4,1928.

Jaroslav, along with other Czech children, was placed in the Kinderheim No. 1,
a children’s home in the ghetto. Obviously the boy knew this gate passage well. Exactly four days after his 16th birthday, on May 8, 1944, Jaroslav created this inscription.

In the Fall of 1944 he, too, received a transport slip. On September 28, 1944 Jaroslav departed Theresienstadt for Auschwitz. There he passed through “selection“ and was placed in a work unit. He was later transported into the concentration camp Dachau. That was the last station on his path of suffering. Jaroslav was lucky: in April 1945 he was in Dachau liberated.

 


Jaroslav Žatečka
Born on May 4, 1928 in Chirles/Krchleby, Czechoslovakia
Transport AAd, 13 June 1942 from Kolin/Kolín for Theresienstadt/Terezín
Transport Ek, September 28,1944 from Theresienstadt/Terezín for Auschwitz/Oświęcim
Prisoner number in the concentration camp Dachau: 115797
Place of liberation: Concentration camp Dachau

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The Gate

Date of Origin: Jan. – Oct. 1944

©WILDFISCH

©WILDFISCH (2005)

All entrances and exits of the Theresienstadt Ghetto were strictly guarded. The Czech gendarmerie and ghetto guard (Ghettowache – GW), which was made up of prisoners, were responsible for securing them. This was a relatively sought after job since ghetto guards could be exempted from further deportation to the east and were involved to some extent in the smuggling of food and cigarettes.

The inscription “BRÁNA STŘEŽENA STRÁŽĺ GHETTA L.P. 1944“ (The gate is being guarded by the ghetto guard 1944 A.D.).

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The Ghetto Code

Date of Origin: April 1942 – Sept. 1944

©WILDFISCH

© WILDFISCH (2011)

“AKB MEZMOS […] 628“ is an unsigned coded message left by a prisoner. We attribute it to Adolf Freund (born 11 Nov. 1896) whom we could identify bz his transport number AKB 628. Freund and his wife Gertruda (born 23 Nov. 1897) were deported to Theresienstadt from Budweis/České Budějovice on 18 Apr. 1942.

Adolf was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 29 Sept. 1944. His wife a few days later. Most likely, both perished in the gas chambers upon arrival.
The inscription “MEZIMOS” remains a mystery. We assume that it could refer refer to the Bohemian town of Mezimost/  Mezimostí.

 


Adolf Freund

  • Born on Nov. 9, 1896
  • Transport Akb / 18 Apr. 1942 / Budweis/České Budějovice – Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport El / 29 Sept. 1944 / Theresienstadt/Terezín – Auschwitz/Oświęcim
Gertruda Freundová

  • Born 23 Nov. 1897
  • Transport Akb / 18 Apr. 1942 / Budweis/České Budějovice – Theresienstadt/Terezín
  • Transport En / 4 Oct. 1944 / Theresienstadt/Terezín – Auschwitz/Oświęcim

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The Ghetto Guard

Date of Origin: presumably in 1944

©WILDFISCH

© WILDFISCH (2014)

The engraving shows a ghetto guard and his very expressive facial features, despite severe wear. As the photo from 1945 proves, there was no noose around the neck.

A fortress gate is depicted under the portrait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Triangle

Date of Origin: 1944

©WILDFISCH

© WILDFISCH (2014)

A triangle is centered above the inscription “Remembering the stay, 1941-1944“. The initials G, M and T probably stand for Ghetto Město Terezín (Ghetto City Theresienstadt/Terezín). This is a final collective message left by prisoners. A fortress gate was originally engraved in the center of the triangle. This motif repeats itself several times also elsewhere, although no longer visible.

The name Jurko Dikan, written in Cyrillic script and the  year of 1949, catches our eye.

DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF THE TRACES

Interactive Map – South Wall of Poterne III

After 70 years unfortunately many traces are barely legible, some of them irretrievably damaged by vandals. By means of interactive maps the most important witnesses and traces from the ghetto times are to being preserved for future generations.

This is an original and faithful reproduction of the south wall of Poterne III at the end of the gate as it opens onto the moat. The PINS on the map mark especially interesting inscriptions and carvings whose authors we were able to identify. Click on the PIN and the snapshot will enlarge; in addition you will see more information about the inscription and its author. You can gain information about one of the many tens of thousands of fates lived in the ghetto between 1941-1945.

Hier wäre Platz für eine Bildunterschrift.

In this photo we see a portion of the south wall of Poterne III as it appeared in 1945. Former prisoner Jiří Lauscher took the snapshot shortly after the liberation of the ghetto. The discovery of the photo in the Terezin Memorial archive was a sheer serendipidy; the photo did not contain an exact place description. It was our research about Ernest Gladtke who left a carving of his full name that led us to the extraordinary discovery. © Pamatnik Terezín A 1896

WE ARE LOOKING FOR (EYE)WITNESSES!

Were you imprisoned in Theresienstadt or do you know people who were imprisoned in the city (1941-45)?
Please visit our photo galleries. Do you recognize anything? Please share your knowledge with us. We would appreciate a short message from you.

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