Bedřšska Felixová

Deported to Terezin 31st March 1942 with her family. Her father was taken to Auschwitz 28.Sept.1944; his end is uncertain. She and her mother stayed in Terezin until liberation.

My mother was trained as a dressmaker; she made uniforms for the German army in the ghetto. This position saved her and me, so that we were not transported to a concentration camp. My best memories are the concert with the famous conductor Karel Ancerl, for instance “The Bartered Bride “.

But one day two prisoners escaped. After that, we had to assemble for roll call early in the morning. We were counted four times. Nobody informed us when we would be allowed to go back. In bad weather we waited until late in the evening. bedriska-felixova Old and weak people around me fell to the ground. Some of them were dead. For me, an 8-year-old girl, this was too much.The bodies ware packed into crates, which were burnt in the crematorium. Then the ashes were thrown in the river.Today you can find a memorial there.

That is where the ashes of my grandmother are. She was suffering from a gallbladder problem. I was able to be with her in her last hour. I talked to her – “Babicka, Grandmother”; she heaved one last sigh, maybe a sign that she had heard me. Then she died.

In 1943, 1 200 orphans arrived from the east. Their parents had been shot dead in their presence. A month later they were taken to Auschwitz together with their nurses, and gassed. One of the people who looked after them was Franz Kafka’s youngest sister.

Early in May 1945, a train was coming to Terezin with concentration camp survivors. Together with my mother I went to the station. Full of hope, we waited for our father. When the doors were opened dead bodies fell out. The living stumbled over each other and out of the coach. Many of those waiting wanted information about the whereabouts of their relatives, but they could not remember anything. Not even their own names. They silently pointed to the numbers that were tattooed into their arms. Our father was not among them.

I am a practicing Jew, and I suffered for my belief. For me, it is incomprehensible when somebody says all Jews should go and live in Israel. I was born in Brno, and this is my home. I am a Czech Jew. Those who did not experience the war do not know how important it is to have a home.

This is the best thing on earth – to have a place to return to.

Dental laboratory technician, born January 17, 1935 in Brno, widow, 2 sons.

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