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I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children of Terezin Free essay! Download now

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I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children of Terezin

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1800 | Submitted: 31-Oct-2009
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I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children of Terezin


The children of Terezin endured the cruel realities of the Holocaust while at the concentration camp. In the beginning, Terezin was used as a propaganda tool to show the children happily learning in classes within Terezin. The camp constructed post offices, cafes and a school to depict this “normal” life within the camp – which made it all that much easier to take Jews from their homes.
Terezin was initially chosen as a concentration camp because it cost very little to be guarded. The first day Terezin was opened 139, 654 Jews were transported the camp. Another 13,454 Jews arrived after April 20, 1945. The more Jews the Germans kept bringing into Terezin, the more crowded the camp became. The Jews were led to believe that they were safe in Terezin; they didn’t know they would soon be moved East and gassed. The Jews had no idea that the Germans were hiding a “special room” where they soon would be killed. Out of the 15,000 that entered Terezin, only about 150 survived the camp.

Living Conditions in Terezin

The living conditions in the camp disrupted relationships between families, especially between mothers and children. In most cases, children under twelve lived with their mother. Otherwise, most of the children were housed in huge barracks, according to age and sex, sometimes 20-30 children to a room.
A “school” was built where children would attend class, although, these classes would be held in the same room the children would eat and sleep. Not much in way of a school. There were very little books, and sadly, the children had to witness the frequent change of teachers as they were sent off to Auschwitz. Education was forbidden by Nazis, even though in some fashion the children received some kind of education.
Some children have pleasant memories of Terezin. For many children, this was as close to childhood as they had ever come. Before they came, Jewish children could not play in parks, go to the movies, attend school, or leave their homes after nightfall. Their childhood was extremely restricted. Some children felt they could live more freely here.
Other children did not feel the same and believed Terezin to be a hostile place. In 1942, freight trains brought in more Jews, and many children ran into the courtyard to watch the Jews unload. Ten percent of the total children were orphans who had no one to take care of them. The parents of most of these children had died or been deported, many times, before the children themselves had come to Terezin. Childless families or single women took care of the orphans.

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