Writing the History of a Prisoner Society: Anna Hájková’s new history of the Theresienstadt ghetto

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Tuesday, April 4 at 4:30 PM
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Writing the History of a Prisoner Society
Anna Hájková’s new history of the Theresienstadt ghetto


Terezín, as it was known in Czech, or Theresienstadt, as it was known in German, was operated by the Nazis between November 1941 and May 1945 as a transit ghetto for Central and Western European Jews before their deportation for murder in the East. Today, Theresienstadt is best known for the Nazi propaganda of the International Red Cross visit, cultural life, and children. But these aspects explain little what defined the lives of its 140,000 inmates. Dr. Anna Hájková offers both a modern history of this Central European ghetto and the first in-depth analytical history of a prison society during the Holocaust. Theresienstadt produced its own social hierarchies under which even small differences among prisoners decided their fate.

Dr. Anna Hájková is associate professor of history at the University of Warwick. She is the co-director of Warwick Centre for Global Jewish Studies. Her book, The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt, came out in 2020 with Oxford University Press. She has also published three short books: a coauthored book on the Veit Simon family; an edited edition of family wartime diaries from the Communist resistance in the Holocaust; and Menschen ohne Geschichte sind Staub, on queer teenagers in the Holocaust. Photograph copyright by Václav Jirásek.