On Tuesday the 15th of December 2020, the International Department of the Protestant Theological Faculty organized a trip for the foreign students of the Faculty to the former Ghetto and concentration camp in Terezín (Theresienstadt). This might look like a rather unusual activity for the time of Advent, but these days provided the best conditions for meetings in groups as far as the COVID-19 restrictions were concerned. We even had an opportunity to ask our friends and colleagues from other Faculties to join us.
As a German, I personally consider an encounter with such a place an indispensable experience for myself and every student. Terezín in particular is reminiscent of the deviousness and mendacity of the Nazi regime in its dealings with the Jewish people, its behaviour towards the prisoners themselves, the population of the area and the global general public. An introductory lecture, several exhibition locations and an expert guided tour through the Ghetto, the cemetery and the Gestapo prison showed us the extent of the unscrupulous brutality with which thousands were penned up or sent on to the gas chambers in Eastern-European camps. For me, the moment that left the strongest impression was when we visited the morgues and the crematorium. Even after death, there was no respect for the dignity of the people, whose bodies were burnt in conflict with the practice of religion and the ashes were later scattered into the river to cover up the number of the departed. This place seemed like a scream to which I have no answer, but hopefully the coming Saviour…
We thank Věra Fritzová and Kristýna Kadlecová for organising this venture under difficult conditions. Although it was almost overflowing with information, it will be remembered as a significant part of our semester.
Michael Klein, Germany, student at the Protestant Theological Faculty in Winter Semester 2020