A  Bohemian paradise 300 miles south of Berlin in Czechoslovakia








An experimental relocation center for Jews

The camp-town that is never discussed









Theresienstadt was in Czechoslovakia.







Built in 1780 by Joseph II of the Hapsburg family.  Theresienstadt was named after Empress Maria Theresa. It is a walled town which is located between Dresden with Prague. Originally it was  as a military garrison at the junction of the Ohre and Elbe rivers.







Chancellor Hitler gave Jews their own town

Hitler took a gingerbread town in the Czech Republic – moved out the residents and turned it over to the Jews. It’s purpose was to provide a ‘ Spa environment ‘ for rich artistic Jews.

Hitler wanted a colony of German Jewish artists to create propaganda and serve as a example of his generosity







Town specially constructed for Jews

In November 1941,Czech workers were sent to transform the small garrison town of Terezín, Czechoslovakia into the Theresienstadt camp. Here they incarcerated some of Europe's most gifted artists, musicians, composers and writers who, sustained an active cultural community






Who was shipped here

The town was for Jewish artisans , the wealthy and their families. There were artists, writers, scientists and jurists, diplomats, musicians.

 Franz E. Klein staged the operas "Carmen", "La Tosca", and "Rigoletto" at Terezin, with the help of conductor and chorus-master Rafael Schachter. . Karel Fleishmann (who was also a physician), Otto Ungar, Peter Kien, and

Ferdinand Bloch were painters whoPavel Haas, Gideon Klein, Hans Krása and Viktor Ullmann were prized pupils and assistants of musical luminaries Leos Janacek and Arnold Schoenberg.







Jewish elders ran the camp

Jakub Edelstein, was the first elder and he ran it from 1941 - 1943. He was arrested for falsifying camps records.

The second was  Dr. Paul Eppstein  who was followed by Dr Murmelstein in Sept 1944

The camp government contained a number of supplementary departments to keep the camp running as smoothly as possible.


Besides the Administration department, there were Economic, Financial, Technical, and Health and Social Care departments. These factions kept track of the full gamut of camp operations, from devermination to fire fighting to burials.
Jakub Edelstein Dr. P. Eppstein Dr. B. Murmelstein






The SS and the camp
The ghetto was administered by the SS. Its first commandant was SS Officer Dr. Siegfried Seidl (  1941 -1943.) Second was SS-First Lieutenant ( 1943 -  1944). The final commandant was SS  Karl Rahm



Camp guarded by Czech police gendarmes

There were none of the dreaded SS to be seen.









Art in the camp

Ferdinand Bloch and Pavel Haas were just a few of the famous artists.

They led classes and produced many protégées like Leos Janacek, Alexander Zemlinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and Alois Haba.







 Ullmanv Klien


Jewish composers wrote operas such as The Emperor of Atlantis. Peter Kien's story is about a
 mythical kingdom in which no one dies, even mortally wounded soldiers. It was a satire on the political situation of WWII.

It included seven singers and full orchestra. part from a handful of string quartets and some songs, not much enduring music came out of Terazin itself.









Music and Cabarets



The cabaret scene had been present from the very early days in the men’s barracks under the leadership of Karel Svenk—a multitalented writer, director, actor, and producer.

His first cabaret, The Lost Food Card, brought laughter and hope to the audience, particularly through the finale tune, The Terezin March.

Theresienstadt had a first class symphony some of music created.

The town had three jazz bars. Cabarets were a late night staple

Some of Hans Krasa's works had been performed by both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.








Though they were unstaged, his choruses also performed operas, particularly favoring two

beloved Czech standards, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and The Kiss



Their familiarity to Czech audiences made them easy favorites and especially comforting. Schacter’s most impressive and legendary feat, however, was his successful interpretation of Verdi’s Requiem.








Theresienstadt was a magical place for the children because of the concentration of wealthy and artistic families. 


                  Child's opera

The town was an 18th century treasure built around parks.

The schools were organized by talented Jewish artist that were 50 yrs ahead of their time



Hans Krasa’s Brundibar, a children’s opera of good versus evil written in Czech, tells the tale of two children on a mission to buy milk for their sick mother. As they sing to raise money for the milk, their earnings are stolen by the evil old organ-grinder, Brundibar, who was displeased by the competition.With the help of a Sparrow, a Cat, and a Dog-also played by children-the brother and sister are able to outwit Brundibar, reclaim their money, and finally bring milk home to their mother.

Performed at least 55 times, the opera was one of the most popular performance pieces in Terezin's entire repertoire-every ticket was highly desired. 








The town itself


A movie clip of the town in  1943

Complete picture album of the town


Various sources



Therestienstadt  artists

Great site