In Prague, they remembered the extermination of the Terezín family camp

The event called Remembrance of BIIb included an exhibition of photographs by Jan Lukas with texts by Ondřej Kundra, The Second Life of Vendulka V, and a concert by the Bennewitz Quartet in the packed Great Hall of the Trade Fair Palace.

The reverence event is traditionally held around the anniversary of the liquidation of the camp, which falls on March 9, but this year the remark was canceled due to coronavirus. The concert began with the Bennewitz Quartet Meditating on the Old Bohemian Chorale of Saint Wenceslas by Josef Suk. Another repertoire of the memorial concert was created in collaboration with the Institute of Terezín Composers.

The program was composed of compositions by Hans Krása, Viktor Ullmann and Erwin Schulhoff. Their music was part of the last memories of those who were deported from the places where today’s concert took place.

A memorial concert referring to the extermination of the Terezín family camp is one of the regular events of the Memorial of Silence. It was also attended by the Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek (CSSD) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (CSSD). Minister Zaorálek reminded that the government is currently deciding on the establishment of a new state-subsidized organization that will take over the development of a project called the Monument of Silence at Bubny Station, which served the SS resettlement commission for deportations of Jews from Prague.

“Yesterday (Monday) I had a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES). We will have one more meeting and within 14 days we could submit the proposal to the government, “he said. The railway station should become a center for the legacy of war events after the reconstruction.

Walt Disney’s Snow Maiden has become a symbol of this year’s event. The famous animated character appeared in Prague just before the Second World War. Children leaving for transport to Terezín carried this memory with them as one of the last touches of the free world and a common family experience. There was an improvised school in the Terezín family camp, according to the memories of the historian Toman Brod, who escaped from the camp, one of the teachers of Snow White painted on its wall. The organizers from the Memorial of Silence had the artist Šárka Ziková create her free reconstruction.

In September 1943, 5,000 Czech Jews from Terezín were transferred to the so-called Terezín family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. In December 1943 and in May 1944, another 12,500 prisoners arrived from Terezín in several large transports. The camp was marked BIIb, an abbreviation for the construction section of section b, so the event that commemorates its liquidation is called Remembrance of BIIb. On the night of March 9, 1944, the Nazis murdered 3,792 camp residents in gas chambers. It was the largest mass murder of Czechoslovak citizens in modern history.

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