Sunday 14 May 2006
Highlights: Border crossing into the Czech Republic, Terezin Small Fortress
Leaving Berlin early I had a long day in the bus but luckily got a seat to myself to more easily relax and enjoy watching the countryside.
Crossing the border I was reminded this was the old Central, communist Europe. We waited 20 minutes before the guards came to check our passports and it took about 40 more minutes to get through. The Czech Republic is part of the EU but you wouldn’t know it.
BusAbout had a special surprise treat for us all today. We stop at a small town called Terezin. During WW2 this town become a ghetto to hold Jews and the Terezin Small Fortress become a Gestapo Prison. 80,000 Jews went from Prague through this place; only 2,000 came back alive (most killed elsewhere). In the jail, the prisoners were political opponents and only some Jews. Conditions were very hard.
The Red Cross inspected at one time however they had to give 12 months notice; surprisingly the day they visited the place looked okay. 2,600 prisoners died in Terezin, not from gassing but mostly from disease. 200 people were executed in this jail, we visited the firing range were many were executed.
The commander of this jail actually was held here for 8 months in one of the cells before his execution. The big difference is he had the cell to himself, whereas the earlier prisoners had 20-30 in the one small cell. The pain human’s can inflict on each other seems to be endless. Don’t visit sites like this unless you can take the emotions it will cause.
Going into Prague it was a grey day and the place looked very depressing. I caught up with Belinda, Rob and Jo from earlier in the trip and we had a good night swapping stories.