Terezin concentration camp is quite popular with tourists visiting Prague.
This camp situated in a small town called Terezin was used by the Nazis as a concentration and transit camp for western Jews.
In four years, more than 30,000 Jews died at the Terezin Camp.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you visit the Terezin concentration camp.
What is Terezin Concentration Camp?
Terezin concentration camp, also known as Theresienstadt (in German), was a town used by Nazi Germany as a transit camp for western Jews.
Prominent Jews from Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, and many other European countries were accommodated at Terezin concentration camp.
As part of their propaganda, at Terezin, the Nazis had allowed for self-rule by the Jews.
Thus, life at the Theresienstadt camp was culturally rich, including concerts, lectures, and education for children.
Where is Terezin Concentration Camp?
Theresienstadt is a town in Northern Bohemia (present Czech Republic) and was founded in 1780.
From 1941 to 1945, this small town was used by Nazi Germany as a concentration camp and as a transit camp for western Jews.
Terezin Concentration Camp from Prague
Terezín is 60 Km (37.2 Miles) to the North of Prague.
If you’re not travelling by private transport, buses are always a good option here.
From Prague to Terezin
There are approximately 10 buses each morning, making the trip from Prague to Terezin in less than an hour.
The buses depart from various stands at the central bus station Florence.
More buses depart from stand 7 of the bus station beside Prague’s Holešovice train station.
Where to get down?
Terezín is divided into two parts by river Ohre.
It divides the small and large fortresses.
If you plan to begin your sightseeing at the Small Fortress and Prison Museum, you must get off at the large Terezin carpark.
If you plan to begin at the Large Fortress and Ghetto Museum, you must not get down at the Car Park and stay in the bus for a few minutes more.
Once you reach the main square with lots of trees, the bus drops you in front of the tourist information office of Terezin concentration camp.
Getting back to Prague
At the end of the day, the same routine is followed.
There are two places from where you can catch a bus, which will take you from the concentration camp to Prague.
1. The main central square of the large fortress
2. Massive carpark near the small fortress
Buses run a couple of times every hour until 5 pm and then they become less frequent.
The last buses are scheduled for before 7.30 pm.
Missed the last bus from Terezin to Prague?
Don’t worry. A five-minute bus ride can take you to a nearby town called Litoměřice.
You can get back to Prague from Litoměřice by train. You must change the trains once.
Terezin camp hours
Terezin concentration camp has many sections, and each section has its own opening and closing times.
The Terezin camp also maintains different hours for different seasons.
The summer timing applies from 1 April to 31 October, while the winter timings come into effect from 1 Nov to 3 March.
Winter time: 8 am – 4.30 pm
Summertime: 8 am – 6 pm
Ghetto Museum & Magdeburg Barracks
Winter time: 9 am – 5.30 pm
Summertime: 9 am – 6 pm
Winter time: 10 am – 4 pm
Summertime: 10 am – 6 pm
The Crematorium is closed on Saturdays.
Columbarium, Ceremonial Halls and Central Morgue
Winter time: 9 am – 5 pm
Summertime: 9 am – 6 pm
Jewish Prayer room
Winter time: 9 am – 5.30 pm
Summertime: 9 am – 6 pm
Terezin concentration camp is closed from 24 Dec till 26 Dec. And then its closed on January 1 as well.
Terezin concentration camp tours
There are three kinds of Terezin tours you can take – full day tour, half day tour or a private tour.
Note: All the tour tickets mentioned below are smartphone tickets. That is, you don’t need to take print outs. The tickets will get emailed to you, and you just need to show them on your smartphone to join the tour.
1. Terezín Concentration Camp: Full-day tour from Prague
This is a highly-rated tour which lasts seven hours.
This tour follows the train lines used to move prisoners from Prague to the Nazi concentration camp at Terezín.
You can see the Terezín Memorial, Ghetto Museum, Small Fortress, Columbarium, the Jewish prayer room and the rail tracks used to bring prisoners to Terezín.
The tour starts at 10 am.
You can book this tour in either English or Spanish.
Adult ticket (14+ years): 950 CZK (36 Euros)
Student ticket (14 to 18 years, with valid ID): 844 CZK (32 Euros)
Children 13 years and below can walk in for free.
2. Half day tour of Terezín Camp from Prague
This five-hour tour includes a pick up from your hotel in Prague.
As part of this tour, you will visit the small fortress of Terezin as well as the Ghetto Museum.
A live guide accompanies you to help relive the moments the Jews experienced at the Terezin Camp.
Besides English, this Terezin Camp tour is also available in German, French, Russian, Spanish, and Italian.
Adult ticket (14+ years): 1362 CZK (51.60 Euros)
Youth ticket (12 to 26 years): 1256 CZK (47.60 Euros)
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 1256 CZK (47.60 Euros)
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 1045 CZK (39.60 Euros)
3. Terezin Concentration Camp Private Tour
This is a six-hour private tour of the Terezin concentration camp, where you get a driver-guide to accompany you.
With your own transport and guide, the tour moves at your pace.
As part of this private guided tour, you will visit the small fortress, the big fortress, the Ghetto Museum, the crematorium, and the cemetery.
This tour requires at least two people to take off and costs 7124 CZK (270 Euros) for a group of two.
What to see in Terezin concentration camp?
Terezin camp has numerous attractions for tourists to explore.
A half day tour takes you to the most important of the attractions – the small fortress and the Ghetto Museum.
However, if you want to explore Terezin camp in detail, you must book a day-long tour.
The must-sees at Terezin camp are –
1. Small fortress
Emperor Joseph II built the small fort at Terezin in the 1780s to keep the Prussians safe.
From 1940 to 1945 the Small Fortress served as the prison Jews from many nations.
In 1994, a new permanent exhibition devoted to the history of the political prison was inaugurated in this fortress.
As you walk through the cemetery in front and the numerous cells, you can’t but feel the pain and anguish felt by the Jews once housed here.
2. Large Fortress
The massive fortress is on the East side of the river and was almost like a town behind walls.
The Nazi had used the Jewish artisans and carpenters, to transform the massive fortress into a concentration camp.
The Ghetto Museum is in the big fortress.
Terezin Concentration Camp has four prisoner courtyards, which face the prison cells which housed the Jews.
Some tourists are known to hear the cries of those in the prison as they walk through these courtyards. It is that chilling.
It is believed that these tiny cells within Theresienstadt camp sometimes housed as many as 100 prisoners.
The prisons facing the third Courtyard were reserved for the women.
4. Jewish Prayer Room
After the Nazi decided to use the large fortress as a concentration camp, the non-Jewish population of the fortress was expelled (in 1942).
This gave the Jews a lot of closed spaces to be converted into small prayer rooms.
Attics, garages, cellars, storage spaces etc. were transformed into small Jewish prayer rooms.
The Jews then decorated the upper walls and vaulted ceiling to make it interesting.
5. Execution Grounds
At the Terezin Camo, a former shooting range was used as an execution courtyard.
The Nazis sometimes made the other inmates witness these executions.
Due to a large number of executions on a daily basis, mass graves were unearthed later near the execution site.
6. Ghetto Museum
This Museum narrates the history of the ghetto established in the Large fortress.
This Museum is proof that even though the Jews were living in a Ghetto, they lived a productive life which included cultural and spiritual activities.
The Terezin Ghetto Museum also shows that the life in the camp was tough with acute pain, hunger and death.
During your visit, don’t miss out on the exhibits of children’s artwork.
The living conditions in the Ghetto were poor, and the executions were regular.
As a result, the Bohušovice basin close to Terezin Concentration Camp, which was used to dump the bodies, just couldn’t keep pace.
With pressure mounting, the Nazis eventually built a crematorium towards the south of the Town.
Columbarium: It is a room or space used to store urns with ashes of the deceased.
Since so many of the Jews were being put to death, a Columbarium was created in an enclosure near the assembly point XXVII of the Main Fortress.
However, just before the Germans lost the war, they started to cover the traces of their crimes.
The urns from the Columbarium in Terezin were taken and distributed elsewhere.
Some were buried in the concentration camp in Litoměřice, but most of them were thrown away in river Ohre.
9. Magdeburg Barracks
Magdeburg Barracks was the seat of the Jewish self-government at Terezin.
All the major cultural events, religious services, lectures and meetings etc. were conducted at the Magdeburg Barracks.
As of today, these barracks have been reconstructed and are used for educational purposes.
10. The Terezin Theatre
The Nazis wanted to project the Terezin Concentration camp as a ‘model ghetto’ to rest of the World.
As a result, they allowed the Jews there the permission to indulge in cultural activities within Theresienstadt.
Even though, the conditions weren’t suitable for creativity the Terezin theatre proliferated.
11. Ceremonial Halls
These are small halls where the bodies of the dead were kept for some time so that the mourners could pay their last respects.
Tourists are known to feel a tinge of sadness pluck at their heartstrings, even as they stand inside one of these halls.
12. Gestapo Prison Cells
Small Fortress was initially built as a Gestapo prison.
The prison cells in this fortress were in use extensively from 1940 to 1945.
Ironically, after the Allied victory, the German war criminals were made to stay in these prisons and later executed.
Where to stay in Terezin
We recommend the below given three hotels, which are both highly rated and close by Theresienstadt.
1. Hotel Koliba
Amongst the highly rated hotels, Hotel Koliba is the closest to Terezin Concentration camp.
The Terezin Memorial is 2.7 km away from the Hotel Koliba.
It is located in the town of Litomerice, Czech Republic.
2. Grandhotel Salva
It is yet another excellent hotel in Litomerice.
The distance from the GrandHotel Salva to the Terezin concentration camp is 3.3 km.
It takes around half an hour to travel to the concentration camp from this hotel.
3. Hotel Lev
Hotel Lev is rated 4.5 on Tripadvisor.
Located in a small town called Lovosice, this hotel is 7.9 Kms (4.9 Miles) from the Terezin attractions.
Terezin concentration camp facts
– Terezin started out as a holiday resort reserved for Czech elite.
– Terezín is contained within the walls of the fortress Theresienstadt which was created in the late 18th century and named in honour of Empress Maria Theresa, mother of Emperor Joseph II of Austria.
– Although Terezin was never supposed to be a slaughter camp, around 33,000 people have died here.
– Executions alone didn’t kill the Jews in Terezin.
– Malnutrition, extreme population density and diseases are also known to have contributed to the deaths.
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