Saturday, July 20, 2013

The First Weekend Here in Praha

Dobre den!

I have survived my first full week in the Czech Republic! I have been busy adjusting to the six-hour time difference and all the walking I do every single day. Prague is an amazing city though! It has so much to offer and I am so grateful to be experiencing all this culture and history.

Our first weekend in Prague, many of embarked on a field trip on Saturday. We visited Lidice and Terezin. We woke up bright and early to board a tour bus filled with our program only and, of course, our tour guide Milos! He welcomed us and was glad to share with us all the information he could about the trip and the places we were visiting. His breadth of knowledge is very impressive.

The first stop was Lidice. Incase you do not know already, Lidice was a small town/village in the Czech Republic that Hitler ordered to be burned to the ground. The reason for this is because after Hitler’s right-hand man, Heydrich, was assassinated, the Nazis intercepted a letter that implied the killers were from Lidice—the actual letter was only from a man to his girlfriend, but the Nazis twisted the words. Hitler declared that every man 15 and older be shot, every woman taken to a concentration camp, and every child that seemed capable to be taken for Germanification.

When we got there, there was only a museum created to commemorate the small village and a beautiful meadow. The only remnants of the village were foundations of churches and the school building. A few memorials stood in honor of the children and one where the men were buried. It was incredibly disheartening. It was a very humbling experience. I had never heard nor learned about a primarily Christian village being exterminated by the Nazis. It was interesting and sickening to discover that Hitler had ordered an entire town to no longer exist, on top of the pain he had already enacted.

The memorial of all the children who were taken at Lidice.
The next stop was Terezin, which had been originally constructed as a fortress by a Czech king. Its final use was as a Nazi propaganda concentration camp. This was the camp that the Nazis had the Red Cross visit because there were no gas chambers. However, it was still an overcrowded camp, where horrific killings and punishments happened. Today, Terezin is very seriously a ghost town. It was almost completely void of people except a few families. It was a disturbing feeling to walk where people had died and been taken away from there homes.

The entire trip was very eye opening. Even though it was depressing, I felt that I had learned so much. Every day struggles seem so minute compared to the sufferings that the people during WWII had went through.

Well, now that I have shared that with you all, I hope you all can find something to be grateful for!

Keep reading my Prague adventures!

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