Gate of Death in the Small Fortress

Gate of Death leads to the execution site outside the walls of the fortress

After visiting the firing range in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt, our tour group went through the Gate of Death which was the gate through which condemned prisoners had to walk to reach another execution site outside the fortress. If you don't want to go through the tunnel to get to the execution site, you can reach the Gate of Death by walking straight ahead when you enter the Small Fortress, instead of turning left into the Administration Court. You will then enter the Fourth Courtyard which is where our tour group emerged when we came through the Gate of Death. The photograph above shows the Gate of Death, taken from inside the Fourth Courtyard. In the background, you can see the high wall of the firing range.

After we entered the fortress again through the Gate of Death, our tour group made a right angle turn to the left and walked a few yards to the swimming pool, shown in the photograph below. The pool was built in 1942 for the benefit of the guards and their families. According to a pamphlet that we were given "It was constructed by students of Roudnice and Jewish prisoners who were tortured and beaten while working." The pool is quite small and no more than six feet deep. In the background you can see the earth piled up against the ramparts. The pool is located in the northeast corner of the fortress and behind it is a bastion which sticks out on the outside of the fort.

Swimming pool in Small Fortress for the guards and their families

The photograph below shows the view looking from the swimming pool towards the arched gate through the bastion at the southeast corner of the fortress. On the left side of the photograph is the former administration building for the Fourth Courtyard. Today it holds dirt that was brought from the concentration camps where thousands of the prisoners were sent from the Small Fortress after being interrogated and determined to be "an enemy of the state." The location of the administration building is shown on the map of the fortress which we were given on the tour.

Gate in Fourth Courtyard leads outside the fortress

Commandant's House


Fourth Courtyard

Third Courtyard

Main Gate

Arbeit Macht Frei gate

Administration Courtyard

First Courtyard

Escape Route

The Long Tunnel

Execution Spot