Evelina Merová

On 2nd July the family was transported to Terezin, sent to Auschwitz December 1943, in July 1944 se and her mother were transferred to Stutthof concentration camp, some time later she did forced labor in Dörbeck and Gutau, in January 1945 she got to Deutsch-Eylau on her own, was then taken in a hospital train to Sisran in Russia, August 1945 Leningrad.

As the summons stated, we had to be at the industry fair palace in Prague at 6 a.m., on 28th June 1942, from where all the deportations to Terezin left. With a number tag around our necks we came into a room where there were already about 1000 people. We had to wait for three days with only the stone floor to sit on.

In the ghetto, there were epidemics. I contracted jaundice and encephalitis. In December 1943 my parents were sent away in one of the transports to the east. I had to go, too, directly out of the hospital, with my temperature still very high. evelyna-merova In sealed cattle cars we were taken to Auschwitz. In the crowded cars – there was no room to lie down, some people died on the way – we reached the extermination camp Birkenau after three days. We had to stand for roll call for hours, and count off at three a.m. That was a kind of torment we had to undergo up to four times a day, depending on the mood of the SS. My father died 13th April from tuberculosis.

In fall 1944 they sent my sister and her eight-month-old son directly from the train into the gas chamber. Selection was carried out by Dr. Mengele. We had to stand in front of him, naked. He only pointed right or left. That meant into the gas chamber or to labor. My grandmother was to stay in the camp – forever. My mother and I were among the last ones to join a labor transport. In the storage room of ship we got to Dörbeck near Gdansk. We had to dig tank trenches, three meters wide and three and a half meters deep. Many of the SS-guards treated us cruelly and sadistically.

A new command forced us to march on to Gutau. Work was the same, only much harder. Winter came soon. We had bad clothes and no shoes; we slept in wooden cabins on the ground that was covered with straw. My feet were frozen, suppurating and should have been amputated.

On 22nd November 1944 my mother died from exhaustion, malnutrition and lice. In January 1945, the Russians were approaching; we were ordered to leave – those who could walk. On the way to the camp’s cemetery many were shot dead by the SS. Those who stayed behind, who were not able to walk were give phenol injections. I could not get up and remained lying deep in the straw. The Germans did not discover me. They were in a hurry. We were taken to Deutsch-Eylau to a military hospital. My feet healed, I only lost one toe. The hospitals had to be evacuated. In a hospital train, we continued to Sisran. The head of the medical department in the train, Doctor Mer from Leningrad, looked after me. In Leningrad I began a new life: School, university, marriage and two children. I lived in that town until 1995.

Sometimes, when my 10-year-old granddaughter sees the tattooed number on my arm, she asks what it means. Until today, I have not answered her, because I would have to tell her everything. And that would be too painful and unbearable for both of us.

German teacher at the academy of arts in St-Petersburg,born December 1930 in Prague, widow, 2 children.

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