It had been a very busy week for us. This past weekend, my parents arrived from the Philippines. Since their arrival, I found myself caught up with household work and travelling.
Despite meeting them personally for the first time, Jakub immediately became comfortable with his grandparents.
My parents’ first 2 days in Kolin were spent resting and readjusting their body clocks.
We only started our first out of town trip yesterday. Our first stop: The Terezin Memorial in the village of Terezin.
Terezin is a former garrison town which was later on turned into a concentration camp by the Nazis. We visited the Small Fortress with a private tour from a friend, Ms. Rosa Machackova, who is a tour guide in the memorial.
Growing up in Asia, I was not familiar with the names and places of the Nazi concentration camps. Back then, Europe seemed so far away and I was not very interested in European history. I remember learning about the Jewish concentration camps only through books and movies. When I moved to the US, this knowledge did not change.
The visit to Terezin afforded me a whole new experience in viewing the Holocaust.
Walking through the path where those murdered Jews have tread gave me an eerie feeling.
In the main entrance, the inscriptions “Work Frees” (translated from German) is written on top of the gate.
This quarter over here used to house close to a hundred Jews. It only had one bathroom and one heater. Imagine living in such small space.
Being a fortress, escape was almost impossible in this place.
It is bordered by gates composed of an inner and outer wall in between a water moat. Those who have tried and were unsuccessful were punished either through shooting or hanging in this.
But while the inmates were living in squalor, the gestapo lived in these quarters.
They even had their own pool.
The trip to Terezin left me with a heavy heart. The succeeding trip to the Ghetto museum where it showed the artwork of the children in the camp was even more heartbreaking.
Our next stop for this trip was Litoměřice.
Litoměřice is a very beautiful city. It used to be called the “Garden of Bohemia” during the 17th century due to its fertile landscape. Presently, the gothic and baroque structures surrounding the city are enough to enchant the adventurous tourist.
But for us Filipinos, the significance of this city has historical origins. This is the city where Jose Rizal, our national hero, spent some time to write his novels, and also formed a very close friendship with Ferdinand Blumentritt, a Czech national. Needless to say, it was our first documented contact with Czechs.
When we got there, the goal was to find the Rizal bust, which was built in commemoration of the friendship between Rizal and Blumetritt.
But in the process of looking for the Rizal bust, I was momentarily captivated with this.
We didn’t have enough time to view the whole city, but I know that this will not be the first time I will visit this place. I will be back.
Despite the long walk and the sultry sunny weather, the trip was very worthwhile. It is one of the places I can definitely recommend on your visit to the Czech Republic.
More information about the city can be found here.
17 thoughts on “A Trip to Terezin and Litoměřice”
Nice to have your parents with you and your family !!!!! Great post and thanks for sharing your world. Best, Jenny
So great that you are having family time with your parents. What a very moving experience it must be to visit one of the concentration camps and the Memorial site. I too have seen them in the movies, but have never been to one. Enjoy the rest of your time together.
great pics Grace, but it must have been a very poignant trip too!
It’difficult to give this blog a ” like,” when it is so sad. But it’s good to keep the story of Terrzin alive, I just finished reading a book about people who were sent to Terrzin. One woman taught art to the children imprisoned there. the
Name of the book is ” The Lost Wife.”
I agree. Thanks for dropping by.
Grace, nice fotos and the presentation is very nice and give me good-sad impression, you did well Grace. Stay as much time to your parents until they are here and enjoy it. You have nice husband and Jakub is very cute and sweet….
Grace, its a nice fotos.The presentation is very nice and give me a good- sad impression. You did well Grace. Stay as much as time to your parents until they are here and enjoy it. You have a nice husband and Jakub is very cute and sweet boy…
Thank you very much for your generosity and hospitality.
a moving post, thought provoking, beautiful, sad, amazing photos….
Thanks for the comment! Your pictures are really breathtaking, and as horrifying as concentration camps are, I think it is very important for everyone to be able to visit something so delicate in world history. I was able to visit Dachau in Germany a few years back, and it was so sad and beautiful.
Indeed it is. It gave me a deeper understanding of the Holocaust.
Grace, thank you for sharing the post on Terezin. We didn’t get there when we were in Prague, although we learned a great deal about it, and saw the children’s artwork in a museum there. It is such a sad chapter of history, but it needs to be told and remembered.
It is indeed. It left me with a heavy heart but it I think it opened my eyes. I was glad we visited.
Thank you for sharing this experience. I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and it was a very moving experience. I can’t imagine how emotional it must have been to actually be in a former concentration camp.
Visiting the place was like being there. I was deeply moved.
THANK YOU so very much for posting this personal piece.
Not only do I really appreciate the way you’ve written about reuniting with your family and choosing to visit not only pretty sights & sites (Litomerice, itself, is such a lovely place) but also …
Because of you I have managed to “find” the precious person Rosa. When I visited Theresienstadt on 8th. November this year, in remembrance of my Viennese great-grandmother, who was deported there in the summer of 1942 and died shortly afterwards, I had such a hefty day. I came across Rosa just as light – and I – were fading fast … and she gave me a “lift” in more than one sense of the word.
THANK YOU ROSA – THANK YOU GRACE!
That is great to know. Rosa is indeed a great person and I’m glad she was able to give you the much-needed “lift” that day. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂