The fortified town of Terezin was built by the Emperor Joseph II at the end of the 18th century. It was supposed to be used to help defend the northern borders against hostile Prussians. The city is surrounded by fortifications designed in the Vauban style, implying that the first purpose of Terezin was military. There are two parts to Terezín: The Large Fortress, originally for soldiers, became a ghetto for Jews. The Small Fortress had been turned into a prison for political prisoners already in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In 1941 the Gestapo forced the population of Terezín to leave their home and subsequently turned the city into a concentration camp, where Jewish population mainly from the Czech territory were sent. However, at the end of the war there were Jews from other European countries as well. Altogether, around 150, 000 Jews were deported there. Approximately a quarter of the inmates died in Terezín, mainly because of the very harsh living conditions. Another 88, 000 inmates ended up in Auschwitz or other extermination camps. At the end of the war, only 17, 000 Jews had survived. Visiting the Small Fortress and the Ghetto Museum enables you to fully understand what dreadful tragedy Jews had to undergo during the Second World War.
- Tour availability:
- April–Octobre: daily
- November–March: on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
- Departure: from Prague at 9 am
- Start from the Martin Tour company's desk at Old Town Square (situated at the beginning of the Pařížská street)
- Duration: 6 hours
- 1 minibus and tour guide
- Entrance to the Small Fortress and Ghetto Museum