Tourists walk through the camp at Terezin in the Czech republic.

Mementos of Doomed Jews Found in Terezin Ghetto

House owners rebuilding their attic in the Czech town of Terezin have found photos, shoes and other possessions of Jews forced into a ghetto there under Nazi rule, a heritage project said on Thursday.

Terezin (Theresienstadt), a fortress and garrison town built at the end of the 18th century, was used by the Nazis as a transit camp for Jews rounded up in Czechoslovakia and deported from elsewhere in Europe. They were held in the ghetto until they could be transported to camps farther east.

Nearly 160,000 Jews went through Terezin. Most perished either there or in the death camps of Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. The camp remained in operation from autumn of 1941 till its liberation in May 1945

The discovery of the objects, some of which bore their owner’s names, was disclosed by the Ghetto Theresienstadt project, which is funded by German and Czech sponsors.

“The unexpected finds such as these suggest that an abundance of precious legacies from the ghetto period are still waiting to be discovered in buildings throughout Terezin,” the group said in a news release.

The group said the highlight of the find was the head tefillin, a small black capsule containing a handwritten parchment scroll with the “Hear, O Israel” verses from Deuteronomy.

Pious Jewish men are obliged to wear tefillin during their morning prayers and the capsules, one for the head and one for an arm, are cherished belongings.

The group said the home owners wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue among Terezin inhabitants. They discovered the objects while replacing a roof truss in their attic in November.

“In their view, the way that the objects were concealed under the beams indicates the great importance that the prisoners gave in hiding their possessions,” the group said.

The Ghetto Theresienstadt projects started in 2012 and is supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation;, the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation; the Prague-based German-Czech Future Fund; and other groups in Germany and Czech Republic.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Mementos of Doomed Jews Found in Terezin Ghetto

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close