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Auschwitz or Terezin Concentration Camp

Traveling with a big group of friends for the first time in Prague in November. Someone suggested to skip Terezin. Auschwitz camp is heartbreaking enough but to go through it again in Terezin is too much.
I have been to Holocaust museums before but never been to concentration camp. And I must admit, the visits I took from these museums are heartbreaking enough. I always leave with a heavy heart.
Do you suggest to skip Terezin?
Also any pointers in Prague? Not to be missed sights or restaurants? Someone suggested to take that time to stroll around Prague.

All suggestions and opinions are welcome. Thank you.

Posted by
174 posts

Are you traveling from Poland or just going to the CR? Prague and Auschwitz are nearly 5 hours apart, so Auschwitz is not an easy day trip from Prague, if that's something that you were thinking about doing. What is the timeline of your trip?

Terezin offers an interesting view of the Holocaust, as it wasn't really a concentration camp in the traditional sense. It was a sham camp made for Red Cross inspectors. Terezin also has a fascinating history prior to use by the Nazis. Auschwitz, on the other hand, was an extermination camp.

I guess I would say that you know you best. If you don't think you can handle two Holocaust sites in a short time period, then I'd listen to that voice. The heart can only take so much and there is no rule that says you have to visit every WWII/Nazis/Holocaust site, though I think it's important to visit a few in a lifetime. There are certainly other day trips from Prague that would be less heavy [examples include Kutna Hora or the castles outside Prague].

As for not to miss sites... I would suggest you pick up the RS guidebook, if you haven't already. The castle complex is very cool as is the Jewish Quarter. I love touring churches and Prague has some great ones. There are lots of major and minor sites.

Posted by
25 posts

We are visiting Poland then to Budapest. The last leg of the trip is Prague. Thank you.

Posted by
4115 posts

It is hard not to feel that heaviness of heart after such visits. If you go to either camp, or both, you may wish to plan a quiet evening afterward. Allow yourself time to contemplate what you've seen and reflect on it. Perhaps find something uplifting to do that evening or the following day. Visit a lovely church. Attend an uplifting concert in a beautiful venue. Sit with a coffee by the river and absorb the beauty. Something that allows you to feel the heaviness, then re-center your emotions and refresh your thoughts so that you can enjoy the rest of your vacation.

Posted by
201 posts

I've been to both Auschwitz and Terezin and I probably wouldn't chose to do them on the same trip but that's just me and I have always had my daughter or kids with me. She went to both with me but in different years. Auschwitz is very big and very emotional and raw. Terezin museum was interested as was the camp but not as many signs or descriptions up like at Auschwitz. We did Terezin as a private tour with a guide from Prague and went to Auschwitz on our own but with English tour guide purchased there. The Jewish Ghetto museum and cemetery were interesting in Prague. We took a city tour in Prague and although I've been there several times, this tour was great and pointed out lots that I didn't know. It was with Good Tours and I think UncleGus on this forum has a friend who is a tour guide who comes highly recommended. Very well worth the price if you haven't seen Prague before. Petrin Hill, the Prague Castle, Saint Charles Bridge, Farmer's market by the river, John Lennon Wall, Cathedrals, Beer Gardens, and just hanging out on Old Town Square people watching and listening to the musicians are among things fun to see in Prague.

Posted by
15450 posts

There are the death camps and then there's Terezin. I haven't been, and don't plan to go, to any of the death camps, though I usually visit holocaust museums, which are heartbreaking enough. Terezin was a stopping point on the way to . . . . There's a fortress about a kilometer outside of the town which was used as a prison and there were executions, mainly political prisoners. You can then walk into the walled town. There are several museums and you get a different perspective. One thing that struck me was that the spirit of creativity and the will to make life a little more bearable was apparent there, even though conditions were often inhumane.