Nov 11

Today we had to leave in the morning, so we ate and loaded up the bus, although two girls from California held us up for almost a half hour because nobody could find them.  Our first stop was a town called Lidice.  Lidice was a bustling little village outside of Prague when the Nazis invaded.  Two people sent by the exiled Czech government in London assassinated a prominent Nazi in Prague during the war.  Somehow, false information led the Nazis to believe it was carried out by a man from Lidice.  Since they couldn’t find the man, they wiped out the entire town.  All of the men were shot, and all children and women were sent to concentration camps.  Then the Nazis blew up all of the buildings, chopped down ever tree in the village, and even dug up the graves in the cemetery so literally nothing would remain of the village.  We went to where the village used to stand, where there is now a memorial and museum.  The museum was interesting, and we saw a video where some of the women and children who survived talked about it.  After that, we started driving to Terezin, stopping for lunch along the way.  Terezin is a military fortress town that was used as a concentration camp during WWII.  We toured the small fortress, a crematorium, and a Jewish cemetery.  During the war, the small fortress was used as the camp, and the whole city was used as a Jewish ghetto.  It was not an extermination camp, but it was a place from where people got deported to an extermination camp.  A lot of artists and musicians ended up at Terezin.  The city actually got used in a Nazi propaganda film trying to show that the Jews were happy in their new “towns”.  The city also got visited by representatives from the Red Cross, but the Nazis had enough knowledge of the visit to prepare.  On the day of the visit, they had kids play, people play music, and a soccer game going, and they adequately fooled the Red Cross people into thinking that the Jews were happy to be living in their new communities.  We toured the city, which is now like a ghost town, and saw a secret synagogue and a few tiny rooms that five Jewish people had to share when the ghetto was bursting with people.  We also saw part of the propaganda film made there, and some artwork that was produced by Jews there during the war.  Apparently Jews who proved that they were talented and proved that they were valuable for propaganda got to stay there instead of being deported to extermination camps.  Terezin was interesting because I’d seen concentration camps before, but this was different because it was the Jewish ghetto that people were in before the camps.  After all of that, we got to the airport for our flight back to England.  One girl had a hard time at passport control since the person could not find her entry stamp into the Czech Republic.  The Easy Jet people also gave some of us a hard time at the gate.  They made a bunch of us put our bags in the dimension tester thing.  Mine was a little wide, but since it was a soft duffel I just pushed it a little and it fell in.  They guy told me that it was supposed to fall in “with no pressure”.  I pointed at it and just said, “it fits in the box.”  He let me take it on, but told me that “he’d let it go but the people on the plane would probably not let it go.”  I’ve learned over the years that this is just a line pissed off gate agents used when they can’t do anything, and sure enough the flight attendants didn’t say a thing.  The gate agent did make a few people check stuff, but it was free since the flight was crowded and he was trying to make space in the overheads.  We got into Stansted late, and then had to wait for the same two California girls as earlier, so by the time the bus dropped us off, the tubes were all closed and everybody had to take night busses home, so a basically the entire group was very pissed at the California girls.  We would have taken the night bus anyway, and it was only a maybe 20 minute ride, so it wasn’t that bad for us.

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