Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by chrisdoughty28, May 4, 2013.

  1. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    Terezin this is a location I have visited many times I lived in CZ for 3 years. The town is almost as it was, there are musiums in many of the buildings. I felt very moved by the details of what took place there. How the SS had shops schools etc all as a front to fool the Red Cross. The whole place looks as if it were only closed last week. I would recomend any one to visit to see as near as posible what it must have looked like some 70 years ago. A place were so many people passed through and died.

    Terezin changed dramatically when the Nazis chose it as the site of a concentration camp and sent the first Jewish transports there in November 1941.
    Over the next several years, the Nazis evacuated the 7,000 Czech residents of Terezin and transformed the town into a concentration camp that held from 35,000 to 60,000 Jewish prisoners. With a Jewish population this large inhabiting an area originally designed for only 7,000, disease and lack of food were constant concerns. In 1942, the Nazis built a crematorium capable of disposing of 190 corpses per day just to handle the death toll caused by starvation, absence of medicine, and cramped unhealthy living conditions. More than 33, 000 people died in Terezin, very few from execution. During the course of the war, 140,000 Jews, 17,000 of them children, passed through Theresienstadt before being transported to the death camps at Auschwitz and elsewhere; few survived.

    Chris Doughty Ex RAF
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  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    I was staying in southeast Germany two Easters ago and made a day trip to Prague.

    On the way back to the Hotel I passed through the town of Terezin, seeing a lot of old type fortifications all around the road that I was travelling on.

    It was starting to get dark and I had no time to stop and look around, but when I returned to the Hotel and consulted my map I was disappointed that I had travelled through Theresienstadt and had not taken the chance to look around.


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  3. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    Hi you probably passed through Decin on the way to the border if you ever get the chance its worth the trip.
    While I was in CZ we made a trip to the Eagles Nest and saw what was left of the houses of the main architects of the Third Reich. The lift up the last 300 mts was all copper lined and impresive. From what I read the place and the road were built in 18 months with slave labour and many lives lost. While thousands of tourists visit I saw very little in rememberance of those who died.
  4. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Many thanks for the Flicker links.

    When I drove through the area I just made a mental note of the old fortifications, which reminded me of Spandau Zitadel.

    It was only later that same evening that I made the Connection with the KZ.

    Very sorry to learn that some of your relatives were sent there never to be seen again.

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  6. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    Hi Marc
    The photo's are very good there were areas of the facility that were very hard to take in and for my wife the children's pictures and stories were hard.
    The work done by the doctor and nurses with all the people shipped in from other camps as the Rusian advanced over ran them was quite a story. When you see the courtyard inside one can not see how so many could be held there. The full history of Terezin has never been fully documented as ashes of victims were placed in the river and fields near by. You should make the history of this place your next book.

  7. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    Thanks, Chris, that's a very good idea.

    But I don't know whether there WILL be another book. The first one took a huge toll on me...

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  8. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    Marc thats a pitty, I would have loved to help on the research side I know a lot of people over in CZ and can visit the place with out any trouble. If you feel its more than you want maybe there is some one on the Forum would take on the task. The story of what went on and who was lost needs to be told. To the local people its a tourist site as there were very few local people that lived in the area at the end of the war. They moved from the south and just took over houses farms etc from the German people who had lived there. The whole area around Usti and Decin was part of the Sudetenland and locals still are angry about what went on. I know locals who owned houses before the war and lost them first to invaders and second to people from the south and even today they can not get them back.
  9. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    The Commandant Anton Burger escaped to Germany. Condemned to death in a trial by Czech authorities in absentia, he settled in Essen. He lived there under a false name until his death in December 1991.[20]
    One must ask how could he escape. I have been there many times and there is only one way in and out of the little fortress. It would be intresting to know how and why he got away with it.
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Burger must have been one of many Nazi functionaries who escaped into the "night and fog" of post war Germany.Many were aided by remnants of the regime,family structures and relationships...the latter being hard to maintain secrecy especially when the family had surveillance applied to them...still they stayed in Germany ...But certain sympathetic South American states such as the Argentina,Paraguay and Bolivia seemed to accept these people who assumed false names without out questions being asked.Certain Middle East states also provided succour to these people and while it became eventually known where these war criminals were,it was virtually impossible to apprehend them..in many cases there was not the facility of extradition treaties.In the end it was left to individual organisations to arrange, covertly, for the kidnapping of these war criminals...Eichmann and Barbie come to mind.

    Former Vichy personnel also created new identities to escape justice..there were cases of former officials who met their end in postwar accidents and were found to have a number of false identities in their possession.

    A trip to Obersalzberg is a must,with a trip up to Eagles Nest ( Kelstein Haus ) very interesting from the point of the challenge it must have been....US forces wished to destroy it immediately after war but the local German authorities persuaded them that the place would make an ideal cafe (it was designed as a teahouse and a present from Bormann for Hitler's 50th birthday in 1939)..apparently Hitler did not like heights and he only visited the place 13 times....good place for Eva to sunbathe and Bormann to socialise with his mistresses.

    I do not think slave labour was used,although they were subject to a punishing programme by Bormann.The work was done mainly by Austrians who had previously laid down roads in the Austrian Alps and Italians,the latter giving the teahouse,the name,Eagles Nest.There was not a budget for the programme which was supervised by leading Munich civil engineering consultants and architects. Bormann bullied local property owners to sell up and leave the Obersalzberg and if further funding for the project was required,he supplied it.Some good publications in English at the Berchtesgaden railway station

    As regards Theresienstadt internment camp as it initially was,it was one of those ruses that the Nazis portrayed as a camp where there were ideal living conditions and work for its inmates.As it was,it was merely a stop for Auschwitz.

    Theresienstadt Terzin also had a Gestapo prison in what was known as the Kliene Festung (small fortress)....its recorded that a Sudetenland Czech citizen was incarcerated here for much of the war,after objecting to having his father's farm requisitioned (without compensation) for a munitions factory extension and complaining about the lack of Czech school....in accordance with the policy of the Nazis to Germanise the territory as part of the Greater German Reich. The young man after being liberated in late April was hospitalised but died from the effects of his imprisonment in June 1945.

    Incidentally,while the French were building their Maginot fortifications,the Czechs also adopted the same policy of defence (which in the political circumstances were never tested) by building/improving fortresses...again static defences.

    Scores were settled at the liberation when the Sudetenland German population were subject to local Czech fury.... former requisitioned property was seized by the incoming Czechs.The Czech Government intended that there would never be a "Troy Horse" situation again and expelled 3.5 million Germans into West Germany in the early period after the war.
  11. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    Hi Harry lived in Decin for 2 years and made the trip to the Nest and other houses in the area as well as the camp on the way there.
    I understood the RAF bombed the town a week before the American got there so the Band of Brothers stort is only true in part.
  12. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes Chris,

    The RAF bombed the Obersalzberg complex on 25 April 1945.I do not think the Germans had many casualties although the complex was virtually destroyed.The fact is that the Obersalzberg was almost a Festung,the area was fortified and being Hitler's second seat of government,access to the retreat was highly restricted with the SS having responsible for its security.There was a very large tunnel arrangement which served as air raid quarters for those on station.In addition Goering,being the type he was, built his own tunnel complex. As far as I understand there was no Nazi Party leadership there when the raid took place. From Allied intelligence,it was thought that Hitler intended to have the Obersalzberg as his Alpine Redoubt.

    Know a MU who was on that raid,his pilot was 19 years old.Their target was the SS barracks which was destroyed to a large extent.Remember a guide in Salzberg saying that the USAAF bombed the place on that date but of course I corrected her.

    The other point about the first Allied troops to get to on the Obersalzberg and to the Berghof was a French unit and they had to withdraw because the area was the responsibility of the US,as the American Occupied Zone as agreed by the Big Three.I think the US forces appeared a day later than the French....serious looting was a feature and Adolf's goods dedicated to his Berghof, still keep turning up for sale.
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  14. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    We spent three days there and went on the electric launch on the lake. I thought that there was slave labour used and a considerable number lost their life.
    The lift used a U Boat electic motor as its power
  15. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    The road builders who built the access road from Obersalzberg to Kehlstein Haus were Austrians who apparently had built the High Alpine Road approaching and up the Grossglockner in 1935.Having climbed it in the car,the views are spectacular as is the view up the mountain from the car park at the bottom....superb scenery without doubt.I think the same people built the Alpinestrasse running out of Salzberg....ideal to get to the park and ride station outside the city and bus in.

    There are some very interesting English language publications on the Obersalzberg/Berghof which relates the specifications of the project and the programme undertaken,ever driven by Bormann.He ensured that there was no expense spared in the equipment fitted...I think the U Boat motor was a MAN job which fitted the purpose of powering the lift. There was the usual construction type deaths and injuries on the project but the labour was all contracted...no slave labour used as far as I can see.

    The other programme was the construction of the Berchtesgaden railway station to accommodate the VIPs expected to visit Hitler...the appearance of the railway station remains unchanged apart from the removal of Nazi signage.

    I see you went on the Konigssee...spent a day down there...large free parking area...never went on the lake...apparently the rule that boats should be silent was in force before Hitler came to power...a very good inland resort,typical German quality leisure area.

    A good area for a holiday..3 weeks centred on the Bavarian Wald and Zell am See, an abundance of history to revisit...in to Czechoslovakia,Linz, Mauthasen,Passau and the towns on the Inn.
  17. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Whilst visiting the area in the summer of 2002 I purchased a very good Paperback book, A4 size and 208 internal pages full of Information on the building work, inventories and costings.

    Called "History of the Eagles nest", a complete account of Adolf Hitler's alleged "Mountain Fortress", by Florian M. Beierl. ISBN 3-922590-77-2

    Total cost of the Kehlstein Project was 29 696 132 RM or more than 150 Million Euro at 2001 with conversion factors!!

    What you call a good Birthday present.

    Also some Information of a Clandestine Airborne drop by a specialist Group at the last days of the war, to capture the latest Crocodile Enigma machine, following Radio intercepts pinpointing a site on the mountain.

    Apparently one of the leaders was a Wing Commander Oskar Oeser from Station "X".

    Certainly recommended reading.

  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The SOE operation envisaged to assassinate Hitler was Operation Foxley which was to occur late in the autumn of 1944.However it was called off from the consideration that Hitler alive was better than dead, insofar as his irrational interference in strategy and the ignoring of his professional military staff.

    I would think it would have been quite an ordeal to penetrate what was a forbidden zone.It was well known that each morning Hitler liked to exercise by walking to the old teahaus (not Bormann's creation) with his dog and a chosen companion...his guard detachment and other guests strolled some way behind,this being the only time he left the Berghof to exercise.Some idea can be made of the exercise walk and the task to target Hitler while exercising can be achieved by studying the map of the layout of the Obersalzberg !fortress".

    Tom probably has that information in his History of the Eagles Nest publication.
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  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    in the winters of 1945 / 6 and partly 47 - we had a ski-lodge on Gross Glockner where we spent the weekends hurtling down the slopes near the Kanzelhohe and ending the evenings with a

    maskenball with the local girls - those were the fun days and we didn't care about breaking any limbs as the Amy would fix them..the only one to break a leg was our SSM…he had to be sent to the

    UK to fix his leg...

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  20. chrisdoughty28

    chrisdoughty28 Junior Member

    Terezin in a way must be quite unique, it is virtually as it was in the war and yet today people live work and sleep in the same buildings that housed the victims of the camp.
    One thing that I remember was the visit to what was the hospital area at the end and for a time after the war. Large numbers of victims were shipped in from other camps as the Red Army advanced. When the camp was liberated about 8000 were held in the central court yard very ill and dying from Typhoid and other illness. A doctor and nurses worked tirelessly with the sick until they to died from the same illness. A memorial to them is in the hospital area.

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