Having very recently gone back and listened to the Audible version of both Winds of War as well as War and Remembrance, I was struck yet again by the scale of the Holocaust, but yet this time, it was the personal views as shown by Wouk in the Jastrow characters that really struck home–the dashed hopes, the plight of thousands that really impacted my thoughts. From a factual standpoint, I also learned (maybe I missed the first time due to my youth) about the false town of Theresienstadt, or also known as Terezin, in which was used by the Nazi’s as window dressing to the world about their treatment of the Jews, but also as a transit stop to the death camps in the East.
Only Window Dressing…
While the Nazi policies towards the Jews continued unchanged, the world’s notice of Theresienstadt only saw the outside and was unaware of the disease, overcrowding, and generally deplorable conditions under which the prisoners lived. In the book, The Terezin Diary of Gonda Redlich, we hear about:
“..Because of the crowded population, the situation is catastrophic, worse than anything till now. Cold, typhus, hunger among the aged….”
Yet Theresienstadt or Terezin as was known by some, was also a transitory stop to the camps in the east such as Auschwitz, Trains going out day and night made for uncertainty, lack of hope or perhaps even delusions that it would always be someone else who had to leave.
How many of us, you, me, when faced with these types of conditions, could last? My only fear is that with the passage of time, that knowledge of evil places such as this might fade away and not remind us of what has been, and yet what could still be if we are not careful.
What follows are some sources I’ve located, Wouk’s works among them, to help you gain some insight and knowledge into Theresienstadt. As you do you your research, don’t overlook Youtube, as there are some excellent resources as well. If you do this, then you will see glimpses of the propaganda film that the Nazi’s put together to impress the world. Only pieces of it remain, but if you do watch it, know that many of the persons you view never made it out alive. Chilling…shall something like this NEVER be repeated again.
Until next time……
Try the following: