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Cart used by forced labor prisoners at Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp

Object | Accession Number: 2003.125.1

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    Cart used by forced labor prisoners at Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp

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    Brief Narrative
    Two wheeled wooden handcart used by inmates while working as forced laborers at the Small Fortress in Theresienstadt (Terezín) ghetto-labor camp northwest of Prague, Czechoslovakia. Carts like this were used to transport food and other heavy loads. Special workers also used them to transport bodies of ghetto residents who had died of starvation and disease. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the town of Terezín was renamed Theresienstadt and a ghetto and camp were established in November 1941.The camp served as a transit center for Jews en route to killing centers in the east, and as a Nazi propaganda tool to present the fair treatment of their Jewish prisoners. In 1943, representatives from the Red Cross toured the specially prepared sections of the camp lined with fake stores and shops. The ruse thoroughly convinced the inspectors that life in the camps was pleasant enough and the prisoners were being treated humanely. In reality, the prisoners lived in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, with little food or medicine. The high death rate necessitated the building of a crematorium to incinerate the bodies. Approximately 140,000 Jews passed through Theresienstadt before it was liberated on May 8, 1945. Of them, approximately 33,000 perished in the camp and 90,000 were deported to be murdered at other camps and killing centers.
    use:  1941 November 24-1945 May 09
    use: Small Fortress, Theresienstadt concentration camp; Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Terezín Memorial
    right side, on frame, rectangular plate, engraved : 600
    front, on frame, triangular plate, engraved : 97

    Physical Details

    Tools and Equipment
    Physical Description
    Two wheeled wooden hand cart with a flat bed and a full width handle on one end. The bed frame is comprised of two elongated rails of wood along the sides that are level with the bed and extend beyond it, and two wooden beams attached in the center beneath. The bed is comprised of six 1 inch thick slats that are nailed and bolted to the frame side rails and the center beams. The front end of the frame rails extend past the bed to hold a cylindrical shaped wooden handlebar that connects them. The handle’s left side extends out beyond the frame and the right is broken off at the rail. Attached to the undercarriage on the left and right side are elliptical leaf springs. Each spring is comprised of two groups of metal strips clamped together, curved inward, and attached end to end. The bottom of the leaf spring is clamped to a metal axle. On each side of the axle, attached with a large metal hub, is a large, wooden, spoked wheel with a metal ring around the perimeter. Two small, metal plates engraved with numbers are nailed to the cart: a triangular one at the front of the bed, and a rectangular one on the right side frame. One of the bed slats is warped at the end.
    overall: Height: 43.625 inches (110.808 cm) | Width: 64.500 inches (163.83 cm) | Depth: 104.000 inches (264.16 cm)
    overall : wood, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The cart was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by the Terezín Memorial.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-14 07:09:16
    This page:

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