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Chamber head in Terezín: Nazism atrocities must be remembered

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Terezin, North Bohemia, May 20 (CTK) – The atrocities of Nazism must be still remembered and future generations must learn about them, Czech Chamber of Deputies chairman Radek Vondracek (ANO) said in his speech at a commemorative ceremony at the Terezin National Cemetery on Sunday.

He called anti-Semitism the current evil.

After the occupation of the Czech Lands by Nazi Germany in March 1939, the Nazis selected the former garrison town Terezin (Theresienstadt) as a ghetto for European Jews during the war, while the nearby Small Fortress turned into the Prague Gestapo prison.

World War Two and Nazism should become a memento, Vondracek said. Younger generations should realise that democracy in which we are living cannot be taken for granted, he added.

“The World War Two showed us that we would always be living with one foot above an abyss,” Vondracek said.

He also warned of anti-Semitism as one of the evil symptoms.

“It still survives in various parts of the world in various forms, mainly in the countries and world regions where radical Islamism has a strong influence,” Vondracek pointed out.

Czech Association of Freedom Fighters chairman Jaroslav Vodicka stressed he believed that democracy was still a firm safeguard against politicians’ failure.

Hundreds of people, including former prisoners from Terezin, came to the cemetery to commemorate the victim of the Terezin Jewish ghetto and the Gestapo prison in the Small Fortress and they were listening to the speeches at the mourning ceremony that took place there for the 72nd time in a row.

Along with Vondracek, it was attended by Deputy PM and Environment Minister Richard Brabec, other government members and representatives of both houses of parliament, religious communities and organisations keeping the legacy of WWII victims. Diplomats and municipal officials also paid homage to the Terezin victims.

Under WWII, transports of Jews, first from the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia and then from other countries, such as Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Austria and Denmark, arrived in the town of Terezin. Over 155,000 Jews were gradually sent to Terezin in 1941-1945 and 117,000 of them died during the war.

A memorial was established in the Little Fortress in 1947. The Ghetto Museum was opened in the town in 1991 only, after the collapse of the communist regime. The museum was extended in 1997 by a display in the Magdeburg barracks on the life and artistic activities in the wartime ghetto.

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