Today, a young person who is studying world history, asked me about “Frederick the Great.” This young person wanted to know what Frederick ever did that made him so great?
For one thing, Frederick the Great was involved in the history of Theresienstadt.
I have a whole section, about Theresienstadt, on my scrapbookpages.com website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/History/index.html
Theresienstadt was a prominent place that became involved in the Holocaust.
The following quote is from my website:
[Before World War II started] there was a dispute between Germany and Poland regarding the free city of Gdansk, which had formerly been known as the German city of Danzig. The population of Danzig was 100% German; the city of Danzig had been taken from the Germans in the Treaty of Versailles.
Another bone of contention was the industrial section of Silesia which had been given to Poland after World War I.
In a self-determination vote, the people of Silesia had voted to become part of Germany, but this was ignored by the League of Nations, even though this was one of Wilson’s Fourteen Points.
Although war had been avoided in the conflict between the Germans and the Czechs, this time there was no “appeasement” of Hitler.
Great Britain and France, after signing an agreement to protect Poland in case of an attack by Germany, were forced to declare war on Germany. World War II began two days after the Germans fired the first shots near Danzig on September 1, 1939.
Hitler’s prediction that another World War would mean the annihilation of the European Jews, then became an actuality.
The town of Theresienstadt soon became one of the most infamous transit centers in Hitler’s systematic plan to exterminate European Jewry.
With the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Czechoslovakia again became an independent country and all the ethnic Germans, except for the few who could prove that they were anti-Fascist during the war, were expelled from their homes and sent into war-torn Germany, many of them dying along the way from hunger and exhaustion.
The Czechs and the Jews exacted their revenge by attacking these refugees as they fled to Germany. Many of the refugees had to live for as long as 18 years in the former Nazi concentration camps, such as Dachau, until they could find new jobs and homes, as Germany was slowly rebuilt.
As soon as a typhus epidemic at Theresienstadt was brought under control, the prisoners were released and the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt became a prison for German Nazis from 1945 to 1948.
In its long and ignominious history, Theresienstadt has come full circle and is now the Czech town of Terezin. The country of Czechoslovakia has now been split once again into the two independent countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.