Before we get into the numbers, I’d like to share some images of the Theresienstadt ghetto that I came across while in the midst of my research. They were found on a blog of someone that had taken a tour of the area. Here are the photos with the captions included:
These pictures might be surprising to a person with the modern idea of a ghetto. If you think that the area was only made nice after the Nazis were defeated, I suggest you look at this 1941–45 map of the place and read the list of amenities that were available to the Jewish people living there.
As you may recall from part one, the Wikipedia entry for Gidon Lev made an uncited claim that “Of the 9,000 children imprisoned in or transported through Theresienstadt concentration camp, he is one of the more than 2000 children estimated to have survived.“
However, this is a case of stories not being straight as according to the information that my robot assistant, Sarah (Bing AI), dug up only 200 children survived. As you can see from the conversation below, the figure of only 200 children surviving is widely accepted by historians and scholars.
The references Sarah used for the claim of 200 children surviving were newspaper articles. The reference Wikipedia uses for the number of people that allegedly died in the camp is from a book that is written in German. This makes it difficult for the average person to verify these claims. After more prodding and poking, I discovered that deaths were recorded in the Tagesbefehl, or order of the day. This page describes a single Tagesbefehl in which one birth was recorded, but there were 47 deaths. This is most likely cherry picked to paint Theresienstadt in the worst light possible. Unfortunately, I was unable to find access to any of the Tagesbefehl.
In the entry for the Theresienstadt ghetto, Wikipedia states, “About 33,000 people died at Theresienstadt, mostly from malnutrition and disease.” There is no citation given; however, it is possible that the records reflect this. On the other hand, as regular readers know, there is no reason to take anything said about the Holocaust at face value.
Alexander McClelland, who I mentioned in part one, had obtained records of Theresienstadt and shared them in his interview with Ernst Zundel. It seems as these records have been lost to time as I am unable to find them online. During the interview, McClelland mentioned that in Theresienstadt over 50% of the people were over the age of 66. He goes on to say that about 43,000 residents in the ghetto were over the age of 61. This most certainly was a contributing factor to the deaths in the camp as the elderly are going to be more vulnerable to the harsh conditions caused by wartime.
Back to the matter of the children. The following information shown below is from the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum (USHMM) website. It is possible that the number of fewer than 200 children surviving comes from the fact that 120 children were found at the children’s home shortly before the camp was liberated. This would mean that it is assumed that anyone not found at the camp had died, which would be an erroneous assumption.
First, unlike what Holocaust fabulists would have you believe, no one that was transported from the ghetto to Auschwitz/Birkenau, or any other camp, was gassed. I will be addressing this further in a Theresienstadt Family Camp series. Secondly, according to McClelland’s research there were 1,600 children in the camp when the Red Cross took it over in May of 1945. He also found that children from Theresienstadt were put in foster homes. Finally, I would like to quote one of Sarah’s answers:
It’s important to note that while these records are extensive, they may not account for every single individual due to the chaotic and devastating circumstances of the Holocaust.
Because of the chaos and disruption the war caused, you cannot just assume that because someone is not where you expected them to be ipso facto means they were murdered.
Because of all these factors, I cannot accept the claim that out of 15,000 children less than 200 survived without actual evidence.
Holocaust fabulists paint the Theresienstadt ghetto as a terrible place of misery and suffering that was above and beyond what the general population was facing, but the evidence simply does not support this picture.