In April 1945 the Germans brought in thousands of prisoners who had been evacuated from concentration camps. Overcrowding led to the outbreak of epidemics.
On May 3 as the Soviet Army approached the area, the Nazis handed Theresienstadt over to the Red Cross and fled.
The ghetto was liberated on May 8 by Soviet troops.
Some 19,000 Jews had survived either in the ghetto or among the groups that the Red Cross had earlier transferred to Sweden or Switzerland.
Deportations to and from Theresienstadt
A total of 140,000 Jews were taken to Theresienstadt during its three-and-a-half year existence. Initially, Czech Jewish leaders thought that being taken to Theresienstadt would save the Jews from being deported. However, upon arrival, they soon realised that in Theresienstadt conditions were similar to those of a concentration camp. Many thousands would pass through on the way to thir deaths. Many thousands would also die within the walls of the overcrowded facility.
Just two months after establishment, the first deportation of 2,000 Jews from Theresienstadt to Riga was carried out. From October 1942, SS authorities began regular deportations of Jews from Theresienstadt to other ghettos and concentration camps. Destinations included Riga, Warsaw, Lodz, Minsk and Bialystok.
Transportation to extermination camps
A total of 88,000 victims were transported from Theresienstadt to the extermination camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek and Treblinka. By the time deportations ended in October 1944, only 11,068 people remained in Theresienstadt. Of those deported, just 3,000 had managed to survive