The railway link built by prisoners opened for traffic on June 1, 1943. The rail reached from the Bohušovice railway station to the ''Hamburg Barracks''. This way, the dispatch of transports was speeded up, and the transports no longer had to be escorted before the eyes in the villages of the vicinity. In the ''Schleuse'' here, all transports to the East were assembled.


It stopped at the wooden barrier,
whistling woefully.
It can't have wanted to go on,
To a place beyond the grave,
And destroy the colors painted on its body.
Step by step, it covered the new track.
Three children with large wondering eyes
Watched as the wheels turned
And the train drove down the street.
I closed my eyes. So this is what an unbeating heart
Of steel, driven by steam, looks like.
It gives the world no choice at all
Under your wheels, my dear, I go a little further.
And worms turn green on the iron tracks
They groan, because they're made of muscle,
And whisper aloud their song of love,
You monster, I'm alive. I too am alive.

- Academy (Hanuš Hachenburg)


Not long ago I read Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. You all surely know the book. It tells the life story of several black slaves in America. Many of the horrors of negro slavery are described in the book, the beatings, the starvation, and so on. But most of all I was moved by the splitting up of families. Many slave families were waiting in the slave markets to be auctioned off. Their only wish was to be sold together to one master. But not even this smallest desire was granted. They were each sold separately, and would probably never meet again. This is how negro slaves were sold and treated in America in the nineteenth century, that is to say, three hundred years after the discovery of America. How do we differ from those slaves, and how do our times differ from those times? We live here in Terezín, in a slave warehouse. Just like the negroes, we are subjected to beatings and hunger. The one way in which we perhaps differ is the irregular and unjustified splitting up of families. But even this preparing for the hih holiday. I noticed an interesting psychological feature in myself this week: How even an unbeliever and atheist can be drawn against his will into the emotions surrounding the high holidays. Rosh Hashanah is the first link in a chain of ten days, when every Jew searches his soul, scrutinizes his actions over the last year, weighs them on the scales of his impersonalized sense of justice and, before his conscience or before his god, confesses all his sins, repents and promises to make amends. Not even I could escape the atmosphere enveloping Terezín in the days of Rosh Hashanah, an atmosphere whose special aroma was so sweetly familiar to me from the days of my orthodox past. But in my case, it indicated a special kind of contemplation. I did not examine so much my own past actions, but rather those of the people around me. Not that I regard myself as infallible and free from sin, but I said to myself that my own actions - the sinful ones in particular are only a tiny drop in the affairs of the world, and perhaps most of them could be explained by the evil influence of what is going on around, which makes them, both from the human point of víew and from that of God's justice (if such a thing exists), pardonable. It is of no great interest to me, in any case. I am not praying for a long life, or an easy death, or forgiveness for all my sins. I am more interested in knowing what attitude I should take to the sins of the world around me. The world is swimming in a sea of war crimes. Its depths are unmeasurable. So I ask myself: how should I behave towards the perpetra tors of that war? Is the German nation as a whole guilty? Should our hatred, our just rage, and our judgment come down on them all, without distinction? As a people who have undergone such immense suffering as a result of this war, who have been demoted to a status below that of the creature called man, we are particularly prone to hating them all indiscriminately. The secret wísh of most of us is that a certain part of the European continent should be blown to smithereens, with not a stone left standing. We allow ourselves to be carried away by our feelings, and do not think rationally. But it is more important now than ever before that the good Lord should preserve us with our reason intact. Do we want to reciprocate with the same unjust hatred that we are suffering under at the moment? It is not my intention to deliver a philanthropic address like the Salvation Army, nor am I a missionary for the old Christian morality - forgive those that have sinned against us. I am fully aware of Wolker's words: We must hate some of the people in order that we might love most of the people. I do not want to give you ready answers. That would be too easy. Nor do I wish to say straight out: Let us love these and hate those. I shall try to outline a method that is less easy, one that will force you to think and draw your own conclusions. By a most unusual chance I discovered, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, a notebook of mine that I had considered long lost, a notebook containing my notes on Eckermann's.

Hanuš Pollak


Devil take all these transports, How they made us sweat.
And what luck that our boy Was in bed with pneumonia.

(Josef Taussig)


My darling, I'd love to kiss you so
But you're all wrapped up from head to toe. Five panties, two dresses, a cap and a hat, How can a chap get his arms around that?

(Josef Taussig)


August 16, 1944:
Petr is an awfully clever boy. When I came here a girl asked me if Petr Ginz was my brother. She said he was supposed to be the most intelligent boy in the "Heim: ' I was overjoyed and very proud of him.

September 16, 1944:
I have not written anything for a long time; I couldn't get around to it. Petr was ill. He had a temperature of 102. There is such an epidemic now in Terezín. Fevers, but there is no pain. I was worried sick that Petr might have something serious, after all we two are alone here and if something happened to him, how could I answer for it to our parents?

September 27, 1944:
Petr and Pavel are in the transport. They got their summons the day before yesterday. They were supposed to leave the next day, but they're still here, because the train did not arrive. They live in the attics of the Hamburg barracks...
We all hope that the transport will stay here. There is supposed to be a strike all over the protectorate and this is why the train is not coming. When I learned that Petr was going, I felt sick. I ran away to the washroom, where I cried and cried.
I am trying to be calm in front of Petr. I don't want him to be even more upset. They are supposed to be going somewhere near Dresden, and I am terrified that there will be bombing attacks there and something might happen to the boys. Mummy and Daddy, I miss you awfully, especially now when I am losing the only person who stood by me. Who knows if we all shall meet again? If only the war were over. It is getting to be too much for us! What will they say at home when they find out that Petr has gone? They will soon find out. Karel Miiller has written home. Poor Mummy and Daddy.

September 28, 1944:
The train is here and both the boys have goton already. Petr is Number 2392 and Pavel 2626. They are together in one carriage. Petr is amazingly calm. Uncle Miloš* was full of admiration. I was hoping all the time the train wouldn't come, even though I knew very well it would. But what can you do? This morning Hanka (my cousin) and I went to see them at the Schleuse. It was a terrible sight. I shall never forget it. A crowd of women, children and old men were milling round the barracks to get a last look at their sons, husbands, fathers or brothers. The men hung out of the windows, pushing each other aside to see their loved ones. The whole barracks were surrounded by gendarmes so that nobody could run away. Ghetto guards stood at the building and drove people who had come too close away. The men at the windows waved and said goodbye to their relatives with their eyes. You could hear sobbing everywhere. We ran quickly and brought the boys two slices of bread each, so they wouldn't be hungry. I pushed through the crowd, slipped under the rope that kept people back from the barracks and passed the bread up to Petr at the window. I still had time to shake his hand through the bars, and then the ghetto guards chased me away. I was lucky to get away with ít. Now the boys have gone. All that is left are their empty beds.

October 12, 1944:
It is a fortnight today since the boys have left, and there is no news from them. Altogether seven transports left, the summonses for the last were issued yesterday, and some more are supposed to leave.

October 16, 1944:
For the first time after quite a long period there was an air raid warning again today. I saw some foreign planes. First there were a lot and then we saw four, chased by German fighters. I am terribly worried that there will be air raids where our boys are. Who knows if I shall ever see our Petr again? The dear boy! Surely God could not let that happen!

October 28, 1944:
Today is again a sad day! Uncle Miloš joined a transport to the East a little while ago. He got his summons today at about midnight, and had two hours to get ready. Giinther apparently came and was very angry with Rahm that there were so many Jews left. It is a month today since the boys left, and
now Uncle is going. Hanka and I are left behind all alone, the ones from our family.

November 2, 1944:
Yesterday I found Petr's diary. When I read it I could not help myself and I cried. The poor darling! Miloš's family did him wrong when they said he neglected his parents. You can see from his diary with what great love he remembered his home. I miss them all so much, but I don't show it in front of Hanka. I don't want to worry her. I want to go home!