Today was our last day in the Czech Republic. First, we visited the Terezin ghetto. When we arrived, Mr. Crane gave us a tour and explained the many buildings that were used to house the Jews during the Nazi era. It was interesting to see that this neighborhood has become a residential area for working class Czech citizens. As we were walking around, I felt like an intruder prying into someone’s home. It must have been a weird feeling for the residents to see a group of students gawking at their houses. However, it is a very different experience to learn history through a lecture versus actually walking through it, as you are able to somewhat immerse yourself in what their daily life must have been like. Mr. Crane told us a story about a woman named Helga H., a holocaust survivor who spent most of her young adulthood in the Terezin ghetto with her family. He told a story of when a student asked her if there were any positive aspects of the Holocaust. Although this may seem like a very inappropriate question to ask a survivor, her answer was enlightening. She said when she was living in the ghetto, she just wanted to dress up, go to balls, and have a boyfriend like the other girls her age. One day, she encountered her crush and said that was the her best day in the ghetto. This story helped remind me that the victims were more than just victims. They had feelings and stories like everyone else. We often forget to remember the victims as multi faceted people with their own unique personalities. I think it’s important to hear stories like these in order to understand the experiences of the survivors, even though we’ll never be able to fully understand what they went through.
In Terezin, we walked through the prison buildings that the Nazis used to punish Jewish people in the ghetto. One of the doors said “Arbeit Macht Frei” which is German for “Work will free you.” I found that extremely ironic, considering Terezin was not a labor camp. It was a perfect example of the propaganda the Nazis utilized to mask their crimes.
After that, we went to a jazz concert in Prague. The music was great and everyone seemed to be having a good time. When the jazz concert was over, we went to dinner in small groups in the center of Prague. The city was so beautiful and so crowded, which was understandable. In my head, I was wondering what it would be like if we were here in the summer. I would love to come back and find out.
Tomorrow we are leaving for Nuremberg to visit the courthouse of the Nuremberg trials. Unfortunately, we only have a day left of this trip, but it has been incredible.
Thank you for reading.
2/24/2019 10:21:40 am
Meley, I'm glad that, as hard as you've toured, you can say that "unfortunately" there's only one day left. Soak it up, we'll be ready to welcome you all back!
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