Zuzana Minačová

Together with her sister, but separated from her parents she was sent to Auschwitz in 1944.

Most of her family did not return.

We were an unusual and funny family. My mother had 11 brothers and sisters, and my father had four. Both were practicing as physicians. Two of my mother’s brothers emigrated – one of them more or less because he had a lot of debts. Everybody in the family was unhappy about him and was glad to see him leave – they even paid for his ticket. The other one was my uncle “Maxi Baci”. In America he had bought the Circus “Buffalo Bill“. After a few years he and his wife Paula returned to his native village. He surprised us with his roping skills. It was a lot of fun when he tried to catch us with a lasso. His wife wanted to go back to the States. zuzana-minacova My uncle was confident that everything was going to be all right, and they stayed. They were the first ones in our family to be taken away; they never returned. We, as Jews, were then supposed to move into a smaller apartment, my father was not allowed to work as a doctor any more; and I could not pursue my favorite hobbies. I was very good at sports, and I loved the movies. When my friends said, “oh, that was such a good film,” I thought it was the greatest misfortune that I could not be with them. My father was able to proof that his work was important, which saved us from transportation until 1944.

Then I was taken to Auschwitz together with my sister. I did not know anything about the fate of my parents. On arrival in the camp we were told that everyone from 15 to 25 should line up on one side. I was 13 at that time, and I thought the best thing would be not to get into selection. They threw me out of the car. It was almost a miracle that at that moment my cousin appeared. She had already been in the camp for two years. Only one person of her transport had survived. She hid me, and later smuggled me into workers’ transport to the Lorenz factories in Vlchlabi. The whole town was a labor camp with Jews from different countries.

Until the end of the war we manufactured electronic parts for airplanes. The war was over, and we stayed for three more weeks. There was no possibility to get away earlier. A large train was organized, and the soldiers shot a salutation. After two hours the journey was interrupted and we had to continue on foot. It took one week to walk to Bratislava.

I went back to school. Everything seemed so ridiculous and so uninteresting to me, so that I decided to do the mandatory years; after that I wanted to learn a vocation. It was a coincidence that a photo school was opened where we lived. But after a few years this school began to bore me as well. They were looking for two photographers from our school for the film studios in Prague. I went, and started to work for the film industry. I met many people, actors and real artists. That is where I learned everything.

Photographer, born September 24, 1931 in Bratislava, married, 2 children.

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