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Belinda’s Travel Diary

Friday, 13 Jan 2006

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

MapIt's snowing, -12degrees and incredibly beautiful.
I arrived into Prague yesterday, and was fortunate to see the city bathed in bright winter sun. Today I have been wandering around in the steady snow. It's a picturesque, walk-able place. Prague must absolutely heave with tourists in the summer.
My first stop this morning was the Jeswish Quarter of Prague. There is a museum here which lists the tens of thousands of Jews who spent time at Terezin (concentration camp 60km NW of Prague). Most were subsequently sent to Auschwitz for extermination. The walls of the museum are lined with names and dates of people who no longer exist.
Regardless of how much you know about the Nazi Regime, it's confronting to see that the effect continues to exist in Europe today. I feel lucky to be Australian.
Anyway, this concentration camp at Terezin was converted into a "model ghetto" in an attempt to demonstrate to the world the benevolence of the Nazis towards an "inferior race". There was a propaganda film made at Terezin that showed young Jews dancing, singing, drinking milk and lemonade etc. This film was released internationally. So, most of the 140 000 prisioners who passed through Terezin were transported to Auschwitz. This journey east traditionally amounted to death.
Viennese painter Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was deported to Terezin in 1942. She gave drawing lessons to children in the camp, and some of these drawings are on display in the museum. In autumn 1944 she was sent to Auschwitz. She did not return. Friedl left behind 2 suitcases filled with more than 4000 children's drawings.