Sunday, 27 June 2010

Terezin to Oświęcim

Work in progress: need comment on Wansee conference, Allied inaction

Terezin (Czech Republic) to Oświęcim (Republic of Poland):

In another time:-

Theresienstadt (Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia of the Third Reich)
Auschwitz (General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories).

By road this is 340 miles/550 km with a predicted journey time of some 7 hours.
We are traveling on motorways in the air-conditioned comfort of a new Ford Mondeo with a peak speed 0f 130 km/h.

In 1942-45 the rail journey would have been less direct with a peak speed of perhaps 60 km/h. This implies a journey time of at least 24 hours.

The comparison of our journey with that endured by many thousands of men, women and children in railway cattle trucks in the cold of winter or the heat of summer could hardly be more profound.

Terezin is a garrison town cum fortress originally constructed in the late 18th century.
Gavrilo Princip who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 thereby precipitating 'The Great War' was incarcerated here in durance vile dying at the age of 24 from TB and malnourishment.

Renamed Theresienstadt following the German invasion of Czechoslavakia it became a 'concentration camp' predominantly for Czech Jews but also other parts of occupied Europe including the Channel Islands. Any deaths (although there were ens of thousands) here were incidental to the 'concentration' process; this was a transit point en route to the main 'extermination camps' in Poland - principally Auschwitz.


Oświęcim is a small bustling town.
On its outskirts lie three more sombre places: the camps of Auschwitz.

Auschwitz I: the pilot plant.
Auschwitz II: the production plant.
Mm: the overflow plant.

Production line genocide: the raw material 1.5 million human beings - people like us;
the product: some labour, hair, gold & silver from teeth, carefully sorted personal possessions - spectacles, false limbs, children's clothes...

more ..

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