The ''Kavalier Barracks''. The dilapidated and uninhabited building with casemates served in 1942 as the ''Shleuse'', lated, old prisoners and separately insane prisoners were housed here in squalid conditions.


Rambles Through Terezín
Once my guide and I visited the Kavalír barracks. I entered ostentatiously on the left. The steward in the gate couldn't have cared less whether I walked on the left or on the right. I don't suppose he'd have minded if I'd walked on my head. Then I went smartly up to Dr. Kelly, the commandant of the Kavalír Ordnerwache. - Good day, Dr. Kelly, I'm the editor of the magazine Vedem. I've taken the liberty of coming to see you to ask you a few questions. (Dr. Kelly welcomed me affably. Unlike many such officials, he is a pleasant man who tries not to behave officiously, but to be kind and friendly to everyone, even to a busybody editor like me.) - Could you please tell me what the task of the Ordnerwache is, and how it differs from that of the Ghettowache? - There's no great difference. Both are responsible for keeping order in the ghetto. But the Ghettowache sees more to security and carrying out of orders from above. It also acts as criminal police force. The Ordnerwache, on the other hand, looks after cleanliness, discipline, and related matters. The men on duty in the yard go after the people who spit, litter, spill water, or have their eiderdowns hanging out of the window after eight a.m. They supervise the toilets and the pump. The guard on duty at the gate gives information, sees to it that people walk on the right (we laugh) and checks passes. And he sees to security and order at the gate. - How many stewards do barracks like Magdeburg, for instance, need? - About sixty. - Thank you, Dr. Kelly, for your information. - My pleasure. I'm glad to hear that the young people in the children's homes are involved in cultural activities like your magazine. Then Dr. Kelly started to ask questions about our magazine and about our life in general. I answered his questions in detail. I said goodbye to the affable commandant of the Ordnerwache, found my way through several rooms and came out into the fresh air. I noticed that not one door knob was working properly. That is one thing no Ordnerwache, or Ghettowache nor any other Wache is looking after.

- nz (Petr Ginz)


"Loonie" and `idiot" are the most frequently used terms in the vocabulary of Terezín boys. Lentil soup, youth leader, the hot weather, today's football match, Madrich, the evening program, liver pate - everything is idiotic. The term loonie is applied to all the above mentioned human beings, including friends, siblings, mothers, and fathers. There is no hypocrisy here: the nine- or fifteen-year-old inhabitant of L 417 will calmly call his friend an idiot. The statement that a proposal, the Madrich's order, a book written by an Olbracht, a Hostovský, a Poláček, is idiotic, is pronounced in a loud voice, with such certainty and matter-of factness that ít ís persuasive. You get used to these two words, and sooner or later they become part of your vocabulary too, along with a number of other Terezín slang words that we shall discuss elsewhere. Loonie and idiot. But there comes suddenly a sobering-up. You pass a building where faces old and young are pressed against barred windows -loonies. These pale and terrified faces have a common feature; I can't quite express it - strange faces, but there is one I know and it recognizes me. An older woman starts to laugh hysterically. Her front teeth are missing, she drools disgustingly. She hisses at me, I approach the window, she leans forward and passes me a crumpled, filthy piece of paper. Buy my slippers. buy my slippers, the woman offers in a desperate voice, the woman in whom I have recognized the mother of one of the boys from L 417. Four months ago she was a young, thirty-five-year-old woman, today she is old, gray-haired, toothless. "I'm starving, I'm starving, buy my slippers ..." she pleads, quite hoarse by now. But all I could hear at that moment was the clear, boyish voice of her son, a hundred strong, young voices, crying, "Loonie, Loonie!" Boys, do you realize that every word has its mearung? You don't refer to tall people as giants, to toddlers as dwarfs, to blond heads as canaries, to brunets as Schwarters. If you did, they would regard you as - LOONIES! Boys, respect your comrades, respect yourselves. You are responsible not only for your actions, but also for your words. Every one of your mothers may one day have to sell slippers made of crumpled paper from behind the barred windows of the madhouse.

- Pepek (Josef Stiassny)