terezin-aerial-view-1024x703Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Eric Schudiske is the Geocaching HQ staff member behind Geocaching.com social media and public relations. He recently traveled to the Czech Republic to join nearly a thousand people  in celebrating geocaching and the geocaching community at the Terezin Games 2014. Here’s his story. 

There’s something you need to know about the location of this Mega-Event. It’s not pleasant, but it’s important. History has visited Terezin in the Czech Republic in almost all its forms, but perhaps none more than tragedy.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire staked a claim here with a city-sized fortress in the 1700′s. Gavrilo Princip, the gunman who triggered World War I with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand died in prison here. There’s more. The atrocities of the Holocaust claimed Terezin when the Nazi Gestapo turned the walled fortress into a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp. After World War II, former captors became prisoners. Nazis and ethnic Germans were detained in Terezin until 1948.

That’s the textbook backdrop that cannot be ignored. That’s the history of this location and context of this event. Thousands of questions will never be answered about Terezin. But the geocaching Mega-Event offers some help. The event organizers take this fragile piece of shared history off the mantle. They do not hide it. They offer context.

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