Red Cross visit

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As a result of the SS propaganda a cover-up, the Red Cross committee was completely duped.

After the visit the Nazis resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, the first deportees being those who had been used by the Nazis in their lie to the Red Cross.

Think!

Did the International Red Cross do enough to oppose the Nazis to save the Jews of Europe?

What methods did the Nazis use to cover up the reality of the Theresienstadt camp-ghetto?

Suggest reasons why the Red Cross did not do more to help save the Jews of Europe.

Danish Jews

By the end of 1943, people across the world were becoming aware of what was happening within the Nazi camps and ghettos. Following the deportation of 476 Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross pressured the Nazis to permit them to make an inspection visit on 23 June 1944. 

Hoax

The Nazis attempted to mask the extermination of those who passed through Theresienstadt by presenting it as a model ghetto. Firstly, overcrowding was dealt with by the deportation of many Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Nazis then set about creating an ellaborate hoax by painting and renovating buildings. They also planted trees and flower beds, built a fake cafe, a bank, kindergartens and a school. A football match was staged, along with other social and cultural events. All of these were made into a propaganda film portaying an idylic life.

The visit

During the visit the Nazis described Theresienstadt as a spa town where elderly Jews could retire in safety. Those prisoners who met with the Red Cross committee members had been warned how to behave and what to say.