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Between the Worlds: Social Circles in the Theresienstadt Ghetto

We invite you to join us on a journey to discover the world of the Jewish children of the Theresienstadt ghetto. This journey strives to reveal the difficulties of these children as they suffered times of pain and loss during the Holocaust. The site has a lesson plan with activities geared for pupils in middle and high school.

This learning environment is based on some of the sources and activities that are part of the CD ROM 'Between the Worlds'- Social Circles in the Theresienstadt Ghetto.' The CD ROM follows the world of the Jews in the ghetto during this difficult period, focusing on the various age groups and sub-cultures that lived in the ghetto: children and parents, men and women.

This activity focuses on the lives and world of the children in the Theresienstadt Ghetto and follows their relationships with different groups in the ghetto.

Introduction

Introduction

During the Holocaust, the Jews of Czechoslovakia as well as elderly Jews and well-known Jewish personalities people from Germany and Western Europe were imprisoned in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Later, in 1944, the Germans also used this ghetto as a site for camouflaging the murder of the Jews of Europe by presenting it as "a model Jewish town" with "an autonomous Jewish administration".In 1944, the Germans presented the ghetto to an investigating committee of the International Red Cross. Prior to the arrival of the delegation, many Jews were deported to Auschwitz, in order to...
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The World Between Parents and Their Children in Theresienstadt

The World Between Parents and Their Children in Theresienstadt

The Theresienstadt ghetto was established in the area of a fortress that had once served as the living quarters for the Czech army.
The deportations of the Jews to Theresienstadt created terrible over crowding. The men were separated from the women, and they lived in different barracks. This caused a situation wherein most families did not live together. In order to make the conditions better for the children, the Jewish leadership initiated the movement of some of the children to special homes (heim).These homes were established in public buildings. In the heim the children were educated,...
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The World of Children in Theresienstadt

The World of Children in Theresienstadt

By reading the children's newspapers, we can learn about the way that the children dealt with daily life in the ghetto. In Theresienstadt, a number of newspapers were published, amongst them Vedem and Kamarad.The Kamarad ("Comrade") periodical was published in Q609, the children's barrack shared by Czech and German speaking boys and girls. The 22 bulletins of Kamarad were written by children in their childish handwriting, and illustrated by the editor, Ivan Polak, without the assistance of the madrichim. The objective of Kamarad, like other children's periodicals, was to entertain,...
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The World between Madrichim and Children in Theresienstadt

The World between Madrichim and Children in Theresienstadt

n the barracks the children lived under the authority of the leaders. How much was this framework able to serve as a substitute for the family unit and which jobs did the leaders take upon themselves? We will study this through the eyes of the children and the way in which they expressed themselves as they described their leadersActivityRead the next 3 sources. Afterwards, fill out the graph.Source A: The Czech Girls' Home Source B: Jewish Education in the Ghetto Source C: The BetreuersIn Column A, write the name of the madrich or madricha whom the text refers to. In Column B, indicate...
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Children and Adults

Children and Adults

This activity focuses on an encounter between a youth and an adult. The encounter takes place in the funeral home. The youth is a young journalist, Peter, and he is interviewing the director of the funeral home, Dr. Bock. In normal times, a meeting of this kind would seem like an hallucination, but in the ghetto the children's exposure to death was a matter of routine.
Was the world of the adults completely revealed to the children? Did the adults have any control over their lives and lives of their children in the ghetto? What frameworks could they provide for them? These are the questions...
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The World of Adults

The World of Adults

Life in the Theresienstadt ghetto required the adults to adapt to enforced social frameworks, which they were not able to choose and which were not under their control. This situation placed their entire personal identity in doubt, since this is also made up of their life story and their connections with other people. In this activity we will meet groups of adults who are trying with all their might to maintain their earlier sets of relationships: mountain climbers, mothers and grandmothers who cook, Christians considered by the Germans to be Jewish, and so on.And these are the questions that arise...
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Women and Men

Women and Men

In the Theresienstadt ghetto, men and women lived separately and therefore they were not able to live as a couple as they had before moving to the ghetto. What happened to the relationship between couples? Did it disappear because of living apart, or change its form? How were emotions of warmth and love and the connection between women and men reflected in texts written by Jews in the ghetto? These questions are at the center of the activity, in which the students design a gallery of pictures according to the emotions provoked by the extracts describing clearly the difficulty of maintaining a relationship...
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The Family Camp

The Family Camp

Life in the Theresienstadt ghetto went on while at the same time train "transports" were leaving at least once a week. These trains took Jews from the ghetto to their deaths in Latvia, Estonia, and the camps in Poland. We will sum up all the activities with one of the unique phenomena of Theresienstadt Jewry, the "family camp" in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, set up especially for the Jews of Theresienstadt. The family camp was the final illusion for many of Theresienstadt's Jewish residents, a trap ending in their death.
"What did the people imagine when they...
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Afterword

Afterword

Altogether, 155,650 Jews were deported to Theresienstadt. 34,000 of them died there. 87,000 more were sent to camps in Poland, where the vast majority of them were murdered by the Germans. Only some 3,000 of the Jews from Theresienstadt survived the camps. "In Theresienstadt we dreamed […].I dreamt that I was back home, I dreamt that I would meet friends from class […]. When we came to Auschwitz, we never dreamed about home anymore. The biggest dream was Theresienstadt."* This is an explanation of the activities. The entire program can be found on the CD. IntroductionThe...
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