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Orange postcard marked "POSTKARTE," brown postage stamp of Hitler in top right corner, "11b" stamped in blue on left side, "Theresienstadt" written on left side.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: Theresienstadt, Hitler’s so-called “gift to the Jews,” was subject to a Nazi effort to sanitize the ghetto in advance of a visit by the Swiss Red Cross on June 23, 1944. The Verschonerung , or embellishment program, emerged out of Denmark’s pressure on the Nazis, since 466 Danish Jews were sent to this ghetto, the Danish government wanted to ensure that they were being treated humanely and living under suitable conditions. Indeed, the two Swiss Red Cross representatives were to be accompanied by two representatives of the Danish government. The Nazis used the occasion to create propaganda in presenting the ghetto in a favorable light. To impress the delegates, and create the appearance of a functioning village life for the Jews, shops were opened, including a café and a bank; camp “money” (scrip useless anywhere else) was printed and distributed for Jewish labor to purchase items at the shops. This general beautification ruse included cultural events that lasted for one week: soccer games were arranged, orchestral and operatic productions were held, parks were opened, a playground was created for the ghetto children, and jazz played in the town square pavilion. Of course, the massively overcrowded conditions had to be relieved in advance of the visit, so 17,517 Jews were transported to Auschwitz.

After the Red Cross visit and the subsequent glowing report that was to emerge, the transports to Auschwitz- which had ceased for a time- resumed again in the fall.


4 x 6"


Theresienstadt, Swiss Red Cross visit, Auschwitz



Theresienstadt Package Receipt Acknowledgement Three Days After Swiss Red Cross Visit



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