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A Look into Documents from the Theresienstadt Ghetto

Acting on behalf of the memorial on the Theresienstadt ghetto, historian Tomas Fedorovic has been viewing documents at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen for about a week. “I wished to gain a first basic survey of the voluminous material held at the ITS”, explains 34-year-old Fedorovic. His primary research interest is to make more complete, i.e. to add further names to, the Czech memorial’s database on the ghetto victims.  

The Theresienstadt ghetto was set up and opened in the garrison town of Theresienstadt in November 1941 and freed by the Red Army on 8th May 1945. During its operation, about 141,000 men, women and children were held in custody there. “We do not want to register names only, but to link with them records such as reports on transports and changes in the camp strength”, the historian shares details on the project.

The Czech national concentrated his research on getting the full picture of the prisoners’ persecution routes. “Our intention is to record what happened to these people in Theresienstadt, but, of course, information on the “sites of pain” they had been confined to before and after Theresienstadt is relevant for us as well.” Accordingly, the historian was able to discover that, when the war came to a close, the trace of more prisoners than had been estimated previously had got lost in the Stutthof concentration camp and not in the Riga ghetto. Shedding light on this history detail proves to be all the more important since 50 percent of the prisoners, in fact, had been deported to other ghettos, extermination, concentration and labour camps.