Helga Hosková

On 7th Dec. 1941 her family was transported to Terezin. Her father was taken to Auschwitz concentration camp in October 1944; her mother and she were also taken to Auschwitz shortly afterwards for ten days; later they were moved to Freiberg for forced labor; in the spring of 1945 until the end of the war spent in Mauthausen.

12 members of her family did not survive.

I was enjoying myself with my friends in the playground, as I often did. One of the girls told the others what she had learned in her religious education lessons, and then pointed at me: “The Jews crucified Christ, and she is a Jew. Don’t talk to her.” That was the first time I encountered anti-Semitism. After the war she came to me and apologized. In our house there was a very good family who took a lot of risks to help us, although non-Jews were not allowed have contacts with Jews – it was also dangerous. Men would even refrain from greeting us in the street. When we came to Terezin, they used a complicated way to send us parcels. helga-hoskova-Kopie These were our few rays of hope. Until the population was evacuated from Terezin the families were separated, and for some months we could not be it touch. I secretly smuggled letters to my father. Together with other girls I stayed in the girls’ dormitory. I do not know how many girls passed through that room within those three years.

Transports came and went. But there were always 33 of us. Of the 15 000 children who were in Terezin 200 to 300 survived. The same happened to our teachers. They came and went. Permitted subjects were Drawing, Singing, and Crafts, but illegally they taught us all the other subjects without any materials. During this time I started painting – everything I saw and that I experienced in the ghetto. Because of our fabulous teachers and gifted artists who gave interesting lectures, it was possible for us to blend in with our generation after the war. Most of us later went to study at the university. My father was taken to the east together with the other men. The men had been promised that their families could remain in the ghetto. But only a few days later my mother and I were transported to Auschwitz. At that time we did not know anything about concentration camps, or where we were taken. We believed that we were to meet my father and even imagined that he would meet us at the station. We even kept some of our provisions for him. We never met again.

In Prague we still had our apartment. In the meantime German people had moved in. Until we had it back we kept moving daily from one place to the next. Our furniture was gone, and only the hooks in the doorframe where my swing used to hang were reminders of my happy childhood. On our own and without my father we could hardly bear it in our old apartment. Our memories were too powerful. But we did not want to go to our neighbors and bother them with our worries all the time. Therefore we went for long walks in the streets in the evenings until we were tired enough to sleep. For months we struggled though the days, until we finally managed to live a normal everyday life.

Painter, born November 10, 1929 in Prague, 2 children, married.

Share this post on...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Share this post on...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone