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Life in Terezin

You may know the most infamous, notorious and cruel death camps by name: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Sobibor, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen. In fact, in recent years, the sheer number of concentration camps arrayed across Europe is thought to have been much, much higher than ever thought before. 

 

But Terezin (or Theresienstadt) was not a "death camp".  Terezin, you see, was a "model" camp, a "fake news" camp, used for propaganda purposes.  The Red Cross toured Terezin and Gidon was among the children shoved out onto a fake playground and told to play so visiting journalists could witness how nice life was in Terezin, according to the Nazis. When the photographers left, the children were sent back to their barracks. 

The camp opened on November 24th, 1941. In six weeks time, the first transports into the camps would begin. So this "fake town" started getting more and more prisoners. If anybody had any illusions that this ghetto would be like any kind of real life at all, that changed when between January and February of 1942 - only weeks after the camp was established, 16 young men were hung in the main square. The population was forced to gather and watch. Gidon was among those who stood in the square to witness this barbaric act.