Reception room where
the prisoners' records were kept
The Administration Courtyard of the Small
Fortress at Theresienstadt has rooms lining both sides of a yard
where the offices of the prison were located. The first room
on the left side of the court is the reception room, which is
shown in the photograph above. It was called the Geschäftszimmer.
Here the prisoners were registered and all their records were
kept. This room was managed by the deputy prison commander, W.
Schmidt, who was executed as a war criminal by the Allies after
Germany was defeated.
Next to the reception room was the Wachstube
or Guards' office, where the prisoners' letters were censored
and the inmates were interrogated. The next room, which is number
5 on the tour, is the Commandant's office. The tour pamphlet
says that the position of Commandant "was held throughout
the war by Heinrich Jöckel who was notorius for his cruelty."
Our tour guide delighted in telling us that Jöckel was imprisoned
for a year in a cell formerly occupied by Jewish prisoners where
he was forced to use the toilet formerly used by them. He was
executed as a war criminal in 1946.
The next room, number 6 on the tour,
is the clothing store where the prisoners were issued discarded
uniforms of the armies defeated by the Germans. The man in charge
of the store was K. Wacholz, who was sentenced to death after
being tried by a Communist court in East Germany in 1968.
The doors to these three rooms are shown
on the left in the photograph below. Our tour group was not shown
the inside of the rooms on our visit. At the end of the Administration
Courtyard is the "Arbeit Macht Frei" entrance into
the First Courtyard, a T-shaped enclosure lined with prison cells.
The second photograph below shows the Second Courtyard which
is on the right side of the fortress as you enter; it is directly
opposite the Administration Courtyard. Note that the walls are
painted the same color of yellow.
Guard's office, Commandant's
office, and clothing room are on the left
Second Courtyard had
workshops where inmates worked
The locations shown in the photograps
above are numbered and the numbers correspond to those on a map of the fortress. For example,
the door to the Commandant's office has the number 3 to the left.