"Hotel Terezin" Today I visited Terezin - Theresenstadt - the fortified city that became a Jewish ghetto during World War II. Prior to the 1940s and, again since then, Terezin was an actual town. First for the military and then for civilians as well. Walking through Terezin as visitors to a "museum" of the Ghetto, it was jarring and upsetting to be shaken out of the past by cars careening down the streets with their stereos blaring.
This morning I was privileged to learn an important lesson about the necessity of using proper terminology and language when discussing divisive issues. This was a painful lesson for those whose feelings were trampled by the poor use of language and I am grateful to them for sharing their pain to help all of us learn it. This morning the Centropa Summer Academy visited the Tunel (sic) Museum or Tunnel of Life Museum. This is a family run museum at the end of the tunnel which was dug under the runway of the Sarajevo Airport in 1993.
As I type this we are driving into Bosnia. We are actually in Republica Srbskia, a breakaway part of Bosnia Herzgovinia that is Serbian majority. We are basically driving through a war zone. The change was immediate when we came through the border. Croatia is not a wealthy country but the difference was still obvious in both the state of homes and the materials. It reminds me a great deal of my visit to the Soviet Union in 1988. This area was ethnically cleansed of all its Muslim and Catholic inhabitants during the war in the 1990's.
My three or so days in Vienna have flown by in a haze of jet lag, lack of sleep and constant stimulation and activity. Our first day began around lunch time - or what would have been 3 am in Seattle - on what felt like one extended day that began about 23 hours before when I woke up at 4 am in Seattle. The flight over had been good and an opportunity to get to know three of the other teachers in my program. We were all on the same flight and had arranged to meet up at Dulles Airport.