VEDEM, Terezin 1942-1944
The secret magazine of the boys of Terezin.
A few days after this occurrence I visited one of the blocks. As I entered one of the many rooms, a terrible stench hit me. Along the dusty walls there were two rows of wooden bunks. When I went further into the room I saw that the bunks were occupied by many old men and women with sunken cheeks. Some were groaning weakly. I approached a man in a white coat who was on duty with two nurses. I asked what the matter with these people was, and where in fact I was.
"My boy," said the man in the white coat, "this is the hospital for the aged. Most of them are suffering from pneumonia. Don't forget, we're in Terezin. They get cold in the unheated rooms and crawl into bed for warmth. Then they get pneumonia and in a few days they're gone." And the doctor hurried off.
I am not particularly sensitive but later, when I thought about these two occurrences, which are surely quite common in the ghetto, I felt like crying. Never before had the horror of Terezin struck me so compellingly as then. And once again, I was richer by another experience.
Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.