The Jewish cemetery with the crematorium. In the area arround the crematorium, during the first year of existence of the Ghetto, 9000 deceased prisoners were buried. In the crematorium, built by the prisoners, not only the dead from the Ghetto, but also the victims of the police prison in the Small Fortress and from the concentration camp in Litoměřice were cremated. In the years 1942 to 1945, about 30 000 people were cremated here. The area has been laid out in proper piety.


Many of you surely ask yourselves the question: What is cremation and what does a crematorium look like? First, something about cremation. From the modern viewpoint cremation is in every respect more hygienic than burial. "Why?" you ask. In the grave flesh decomposes and disappears completely over the course of ten years. Only bones remain. In cremation, the flesh is consumed within a few minutes. The most interesting part of the crematorium is the furnace, which is heated to a temperature of 800-1200 degrees centigrade. The best furnaces use oil. Six to nine liters of oil are needed to bring the furnace up to temperature. To prevent the temperature from rising above 1200 degrees,
cold air is pumped into it through ten small nozzles. Should the temperature drop below 800 °C the nozzles are closed and the temperature rises again. The furnace is lined with fire clay ten centimeters thick. The procedure during cremation is as follows: the corpse is laid on a heavy iron trolley located at the back on a raised platform, then it is pushed into the furnace through the back door. Here the cart automatically empties its load and returns. The action takes a few seconds. It is well known that the body consists of 75 percent water and therefore, when exposed to great heat, the water in the body begins to boil, which causes the corpse to move. When all the flesh has burned and only a small pile of half-consumed bones remains, the attendant pushes it with the aid of a four-meter-long poker to the central part of the furnace where the bones continue to burn. A second corpse is then put into the furnace above it, so that two are burnt at the same time. When the bones have been reduced to ashes the attendant pushes them to the lowest section, the grate. Below the grate there is a hopper, where the remnants are sifted and left to cool. A corpse takes between twentyfive and forty minutes to burn completely. It is interesting to note that the cremation time for a woman is only half that of a man. You will want to know, I'm sure, how the corpses are burnt here in the Terezín crematorium and what the installation is like. The crematorium here in Terezín was established half a year ago, making it the newest crematorium in the protectorate. The bodies of those who have died from infectious diseases or are full of lice are burned in their coffins. The ashes are then put in a paper urn, 22 x 18 cm and placed in the "columbarium" in the former brewery. But I shall tell you about that next time.

Lightning (Zdeněk Taussig)