Exectution place in Small Fortress

Firing range where prisoners were executed

The photograph above shows the place where prisoners were executed in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt. One of the fortification walls is in the background and the spot where the condemned prisoner stood is in the center of the picture. The concrete form in the foreground was one of three places, under a free-standing roof, from which the firing squad would shoot while in a prone position.

According to a small booklet which I purchased at the Museum, between 250 and 300 of the 32,000 prisoners, who were inmates at the Small Fortress, were executed. This included 49 men and 3 women who were shot on May 2, 1945 just before the prison was liberated. Most of this group were either members of the Predvoj resistance fighters or the Communist party which had been banned by the Nazis.

The first recorded execution was on May 11, 1943 when a leader of the Communist resistance, Frantisek Prokop, was shot at the firing range. On September 28, 1944, Dr. Paul Eppstein, the second Elder of the Theresienstadt Ghetto was executed here because of his resistance activities.

The photograph below shows the gallows, which is against a low wall at right angles to the fortification wall.

The gallows is located to the right of the firing range

The gallows, shown in the photograph above were only used on one occasion to hang three condemned prisoners. Near the execution place is the site of the mass graves where 601 corpses were exhumed in the summer of 1945 and reburied in the National Cemetery in front of the main entrance. A tunnel goes under the wall to the grave site. In the background, you can see the roof top of the building where the Commandant and the SS officers lived with their families.

Gate of Death

Commandant's House


Fourth Courtyard

Third Courtyard

Main Gate

Arbeit Macht Frei gate

Administration Courtyard

First Courtyard

Escape Route

The Long Tunnel