Third Courtyard in Small Fortress

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.

Main Gate

Arbeit Macht Frei gate

Administration Courtyard

First Courtyard

Escape Route

The Long Tunnel

Execution Spot

Gate of Death

Commandant's House


Fourth Courtyard