Scrapbookpages Blog

September 2, 2014

Who burned the files at Terezin, formerly known as Theresienstadt?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:15 am
Records for the prisoners at Theresienstadt were stored in this building

Records for prisoners at Theresienstadt were stored here

One of the regular readers of my blog is Dr. Wolf Murmelstein, the son of Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, who was the last of the Jewish elders at Theresienstadt. I have a series of essays, written by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein on my website at http://scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/index.html

Recently, Dr. Wolf Murmelstein made a comment on my blog, which I am quoting:

“… before [the] end of WWII the nazis destructed as many archives they could burn. I myself remember [know] at Terezin at end of April a lot of files had been collected from offices, [thrown] on [a] truck and then brought to a place and burned.”

It is my understanding that the Soviet liberators of Theresienstadt burned the files of the prisoners, but I have not been able to find a source for this.  I have also not been able to find out if the Nazis really did burn the files at Theresienstadt.

A few years ago, I toured the town of Terezin, where the Theresienstadt ghetto was located.  I photographed the building where the records were held; this building is shown in the photo at the top of this page.

I wrote about the records at Theresienstadt on my scrapbookpages.com website.

The following quote is from my website:

The Administration Courtyard of the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt has rooms lining both sides of a yard where the offices of the prison were located. The first room on the left side of the court is the reception room, which is shown in the photograph above. It was called the Geschäftszimmer. Here the prisoners were registered and all their records were kept. This room was managed by the deputy prison commander, W. Schmidt, who was executed as a war criminal by the Allies after Germany was defeated.

Next to the reception room was the Wachstube or Guards’ office, where the prisoners’ letters were censored and the inmates were interrogated. The next room, which is number 5 on the tour, is the Commandant’s office. The tour pamphlet says that the position of Commandant “was held throughout the war by Heinrich Jöckel who was notorious for his cruelty.” Our tour guide delighted in telling us that Jöckel was imprisoned for a year in a cell formerly occupied by Jewish prisoners where he was forced to use the toilet formerly used by them. He was executed as a war criminal in 1946.

If any of my readers has any information about whether or not the records at Theresienstadt were burned, or if they are still in existence, please enlighten us in a comment.

3 Comments »

  1. Dear FURTHERGLORY. First of all at THERESIENSTADT the town had been the Ghetto and the LITTLE FORTRESS – KLEINE FESTUNG a hard police prison -POLIZEILAGER. I wrote about the burning of many files at the Ghetto of Terezin. I could watch while a lot of files of the ARBEITERZENTRALE – Work Office – had been thrown in a truck to be burned toghetter with those of other offices. I rememnber the Chief of the Ghetto Fire Brigade who was worried about that mass burning in the courtyard of the SUDETENKASERNE – A barack where the central archive of the SD – Security Service – had been placed in August 1943. I had been about 9 – nine – year olld and, as the son of the Judenaeltester, have some usefull record of things. Ready for further information.

    Comment by Wolf MURMELSTEIN — September 2, 2014 @ 11:28 am


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