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Terezin Memorial

A commemoration of the victims of persecution during the Nazi occupation of World War II.

TravelCurious Tip

The sites of interest are spread out across Terezin and not well marked: it’s well worth taking a guided tour to understand what happened here.

From fortress to ghetto

Just 60 km from Prague is Terezin: formerly a walled garrison town, Terezin was adapted by the Nazis into a ghetto and concentration camp during the Second World War. Though not as famous as Auschwitz or Dachau, the horrors experienced here were no less awful.

More than 150,000 Jews were sent to Terezin; most were from Czechoslovakia, but tens of thousands also came from Germany and Austria. About 33,000 died in the ghetto, although it was not officially an extermination camp. Around 88,000 inmates were deported to death camps, with deportations continuing as late as the end of 1944. On the other side of the river to the Ghetto was the Small Fortress, which became a Gestapo prison and saw over 90,000 pass through, with 2,600 dying. The prison and camp were liberated by the Soviets in 1945.

Bearing witness

Astonishingly, this place was used as a Nazi propaganda tool in 1944: by deporting most inmates, threatening the remaining ones and stocking bakeries and shops with bountiful goods, the Nazis created the illusion of a model community to the visiting Red Cross and Western Allies. Hitler claimed that he had created a ‘city for the Jews’ - including many notable artists, musicians and intellectuals - to keep them safe from war.

Today there is a museum on site, and the Terezin Memorial, which is the only institution of its kind in the Czech Republic, memorialises the victims of Terezin. Opened in 1947 as the National Suffering Memorial, it features bronze grave markers for all those who died, overlooked by a monumental crucifix and Star of David. The rest of the former garrison is eerily preserved in its 1940s state, and provides a quieting glimpse of this terrible chapter of human history.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Prague
Prague Castle
The world’s largest ancient castle, this imposing Gothic fortress overlooks the river Vltava and the rest of the city.
Church of St. Nicholas
The very best of Prague Baroque, in the heart of the city's Lesser Town.
Nerudova Street
Leading from the Lesser Town Square to Prague Castle, this street boasts many a lovely façade.
Mánes Bridge
The Vltava's ninth bridge connects the Rudolfinum with the Lesser Quarter, and embodies the spirit of Czech Modernism.
St Vitus Cathedral
A stunning masterpiece of Gothic architecture designed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.
Chlebíčky
Chlebíčky is a type of open sandwich in Czech cuisine. It consists of a sliced bread that has butter spread on it, and a variety of toppings on top. They are often served as an appetizer dish or as a snack.

Related Tours

The Historic Terezin Memorial Excursion
On this private, half-day tour travel to the village of Terezin, a former military fortress used as a Jewish concentration camp, which has since been transformed into Terezin Memorial in honour of those whose lives were lost. 

On this tour, you will:

  • Be picked up at your hotel in a private vehicle and be driven to the village of Terezin 
  • Learn about the reign of the Nazi regime in Prague, and the heroism of the local Jewish community 
  • Visit the Big Fortress, the Small FortressGhetto Museum, and Magdeburg Barracks 
  • Visit Terezin Memorial 
  • Be driven back to your hotel in Prague
Terezin Fortress

In 1940 Prague’s Gestapo installed the Terezin Small Fortress police prison. About 32,000 prisoners passed through the Terezin Small Fortress between 1940 and 1945. For many Jewish people, the Terezin ghetto was a place of dire suffering highlighted by unbearable living conditions and utter disregard for human life by the Nazi regime. Astonishingly, more than 150,000 Jewish people were sent here, including 15,000 children. Russian forces liberated Terezin on May 8th, 1945, eight days after Berlin had fallen to the Allies. Today the well-preserved concentration camp stands as a memorial to the plight of Prague’s Jewish people in World War II.

The Jewish Legacy 

Your expert guide will explain the historical context of the Jewish struggle during the 20th century in the region, and will be very happy to answer questions you may have about Jewish history. Despite the horrors that occurred in Terezin, hidden within this imposing military fortress are stories of true heroism, bravery, and a harrowing fight for freedom. 

Unravel years of history as you explore the Big Fortress, the Small Fortress, the Ghetto Museum and Magdeburg Barracks. In the Big Fortress - a former Jewish ghetto which includes the Museum of the Terezin Concentration Camp - you will see many sobering artifacts, including a collage of drawings by children imprisoned at the camp. Additionally, you will have the chance to watch a Nazi propaganda film, which presented Terezin as a “gift” to the Jews from Hitler. This propaganda film was supposed to dispel rumours about the horrors of life in concentration camps. 

After visiting the museum, you will have the chance to explore different buildings and explain their roles during the war. You will see local Nazi headquarters and the headquarters of the Jewish self-administration. You will also be shown the barracks where tens of thousands of Jews lived in vile conditions. 

At the end of this unforgettable excursion, you will be driven back to your hotel in Prague. 

Please note: the crematorium is closed on Saturdays. 
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