A picture taken inside Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, also known as Terezin. (photo credit:JEFFR_TRAVEL / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The following quote is from the news article which claims that the top photo above shows the gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto. No, this is the gate into a prison on the other side of the road, not the gate into the Theresienstadt ghetto.
Begin quote from news article:
BOSTON — Edgar Krasa, a Holocaust survivor who sang in the Theresienstadt concentration camp’s chorus, has died.
His death Monday was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Defiant Requiem Foundation, which performs the music created by inmates at Theresienstadt (also known as Terezin). Krasa, who had moved to Boston with his family in the 1960s, was 95.
An interior gate in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt, which is shown in the background of my photograph above, has black letters on a white band over the arch; the letters read “Arbeit Macht Frei.” This same cynical slogan was also used at Dachau, Sachsenhausen, the main Auschwitz camp and a few other Nazi concentration camps.
The slogan means that “work will set you free”.
On the day that I took these photos, two Jewish members of our tour group, who were from Israel, were quite upset when they saw these cruel words Arbeit macht Frei displayed inside the prison. They began screaming and crying.
Our tour guide explained that there were actually some prisoners who were released from the Small Fortress, so there were some prisoners who were actually set free.
According to a booklet that I purchased at the Theresienstadt Museum, there were 5,600 prisoners released from the Small Fortress, which was a Gestapo prison for political prisoners and captured partisans.
When Theresienstadt was built as a military fortress in 1780, it consisted of two parts: the Main Fortress, where the Jews were later imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II, and the Small Fortress which was originally built as a prison and was used as such from the time it was completed until a few years after World War II, when the last of the German war criminals, who were incarcerated here by the victorious Allies, were executed.
The Small Fortress is on the east side of the Ohre river that divides the two parts of the old military fortress, and the Theresienstadt ghetto is on the west side.
The Small Fortress was open to tourists from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily when I visited in October 2000.
The Main Fortress is now the town of Terezin, which is, of course, always open to visitors, and even has hotels where tourists can stay if they don’t mind spending the night in the exact location where Hitler’s SS soldiers once slept.