Gauck, Zeman pay respects to Nazi victims in Terezin


06.05.2014 18:41

Terezin - German President Joachim Gauck and his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman visited the National Memorial in Terezin, where a concentration camp existed during World War Two, to pay their respects to Nazi victims today.


Německý prezident Joachim Gauck (vlevo) a jeho český protějšek Miloš Zeman (vpravo) navštívili 6. května pevnost Terezín. ČTK Šulová Kateřina

"Gauck's visit to Terezin logically follows up his rather recent visit to Lidice," Zeman said-

In October 2012, Gauck visited Lidice, a central Bohemian village which the Nazis razed to the ground in 1942. Before, Gauck sent a letter to Zeman's predecessor president Vaclav Klaus in which he apologised for the crime.

Accompanied by Zeman, Gauck walked through the Small Fortress in Terezin used as a prison of the Prague Gestapo during the war.

In the third courtyard, they bowed to the memorial of the executed inmates.

At the national cemetery, they paid their respects to all who did not survive internment in the Small Fortress and the Jewish ghetto in Terezin.

After the occupation of the Czech Lands by Nazi Germany in March 1939, the Nazis selected the former garrison town Terezin to serve as a ghetto for European Jews in 1941-1945. Terezin was just a transit camp from where regular transports were dispatched to extermination camps.

Out of 155,000 Jews who were gradually sent to Terezin, of whom 118,000 died during the war.

The commemorative act was ended by a Jewish prayer read by Prague Chief Rabbi Karol Sidon.

"This was not a mere gesture by Gauck, but a sign of a real interest. I know him as a decent man," said Sidon, a dissident under the Communist regime who spent a part of his life in Germany.

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