Gidon Lev still remembers the day the Red Cross delegation came to visit Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he had been held for three years. He was nine years old.
It was 23 June 1944. The delegation toured the site, inspected its conditions, and examined detainees for signs of Nazi cruelty.
“There was a central park and we children could never go to it,” he told the JC in Prague ahead of a visit to the camp this week.
“On the day that the Red Cross came, they stood 100 metres away and took photographs.
The guards took children like me by truck from our barracks and brought them to the place and said ‘spielen’, ‘play’.
There were swings there, what do children do? They play.” Unwittingly, young Gidon had been co-opted into a Nazi propaganda exercise aimed at concealing the true aim of the Final Solution from the world.