Third Courtyard in
Door to restaurant
inside the Small Fortress
Believe it or not, there was a restaurant,
which was open to the public, inside the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt
when I visited in October 2000. As if anyone would want to eat
in this horrible place! The restaurant is No. 32 on the tour,
located on your left as you walk toward the main entrance to
leave at the end of your tour. The building where the restaurant
is located was formerly the Canteen for the SS guards in the
prison. It is a long building which separates the Second Courtyard
from the Third Courtyard. The photograph above shows the door
into the restaurant which is on the end of the building.
The photograph below shows the view of
the main entrance that you see on your way out. On the right
is the doorway into the Administration Courtyard and on the left
is the doorway into the Second Courtyard. Just beyond the restaurant,
on the left side is the Third Courtyard, which was the women's
section of the prison.
View from inside the
Small Fortress looking through the front entrance
On the right in the photograph above,
you can see the square archway which is the entrance to the Administration
court with the Arbeit Macht Frei gate at the end of it. To the
left of the gate, but not visible in the photograph above, is
the entrance to the Third Courtyard which was used for the women
prisoners after June 1942. It is Number 33 on the tour. In this
courtyard, according to the pamphlet, "the first working
transport for the Litomerice concentration camp was lodged here
temporarily" in 1944.
The women's section is shown in the photograph
below with the Canteen building on the left.
The Third Courtyard
was the women's section
The Small Fortress was liberated by the
army of the Soviet Union on May 8, 1945. By that time, the typhus
epidemic which had spread to the prison was raging out of control.
The prison had to be quarantined and Soviet and Czech doctors
worked hard to save the inmates.
After the epidemic was stopped, the former
prisoners were repatriated to their home countries and the Small
Fortress was turned into a prison camp for German war criminals
from 1945 to 1948. Most of them were eventually executed, but
according to our tour guide, the hunt for the war criminals who
staffed the Small Fortress is still going on, although the former
guards are by now in their 80ies.
Outside the gate is the National Cemetery,
which is Number 34, the last stop on the tour. Click on the first
link below to go back to the start of the tour.