Newsletter 3/2015

Evelina Merová – her life story

Evelina Merová, 1935, private archive of Evelina Merová

Evelina Merová, 1935, private archive of Evelina Merová

Evelina Merová was born on 25th December 1930 to an assimilated Jewish family of Ilse and Emil Landa (Father’s original surname being Löwy). She had a ten-year-older half-sister Lisa. The Landas lived in a modern three-bedroom apartment in Prague’s quarter Letná until 1939, when they had to move out. Father worked his way up to own a company which processed horsehair. Eva, as she was called in short, went to a Czech school and exercised in Sokol. However, the feeling of security, in which she grew up, began to shake with the events of 1938 when, following the annexation of Austria, the relatives of Landa family arrived in Prague among other Jewish refugees bringing along discussions about the war. The persecution of the Jews came in stages through various regulations and orders. The first painful moment for Eva came when she had to give away her canary Punťa. In summer 1940 she already was not allowed to attend Czech schools, nevertheless her father enrolled her in time in the only Prague’s Jewish school. After the classes children often played in the old Jewish cemetery or at the only sports ground where Jews were allowed, the Hagibor.

Eva with her parents, Prague 1937, private archive of Evelina Merová

Eva with her parents, Prague 1937, private archive of Evelina Merová

As the family of Landas were on the list of the deportees to Terezín as well, the whole family had to come to the gathering point at the Prague’s Veletržní Palace on 28th June 1942, and a few days later, on 2nd July, they were deported by transport AAl to the Terezín ghetto. In Terezín, Eva stayed with girls of her age in Kinderheim (children’s home) signed L 410 in room No. 28. “When I think of the really bad years of the war and the Holocaust, there is always a bright point, a beam of light, on my mind – our Heim in the ghetto, our room 28. I spent eighteen months in Terezín. It is not much in an adult’s life, but in the life of a child who is barely twelve it’s almost an eternity. In Terezín, I was deprived of my childhood. I became an adult. I began to think. I came to Terezín as a little eleven-year-old girl, but when leaving the ghetto in a December transport to Auschwitz, I felt almost an adult. The Heim helped me endure much hardship, however, only fifteen girls out of nearly sixty who then occupied room No. 28 were so fortunate. “In the Heim, she was taught drawing by Friedl Dicker- Brandejsová, a well-known painter who worked with children in the ghetto.

Picture of Cinderella drawn by Eva in the Terezin Ghetto, Jewish Museum in Prague, © Evelina Merová

Picture of Cinderella drawn by Eva in the Terezin Ghetto, Jewish Museum in Prague, © Evelina Merová

“She allowed us to play with colours, engage in a flight of fancy, abandon stereotypes – and inside, for a moment, the boundaries of the ghetto, too.” With 14 years of age, young people had to work in Terezín; Eva was assigned to work in horticulture, growing vegetables and fruits for the SS kitchen. This kind of work was very popular among the prisoners for fresh air and a chance, with a little courage and luck, to improve the poor Terezín diet. In December 1943 the Landas found themselves on the list of a transport to the East. Their unknown destination was the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Alike the previous transport in September 1943, the prisoners did not have to go through the selection upon their arrival and were placed in the so-called Terezín family camp. The inmates from both above mentioned transports received an annotation in their personal records saying that after six months of quarantine so-called Sonderbehandlung shall be applied. It was the cover term used for murder, gasification, which was really carried out at the September transport in March 1944.

Eva and her mother were rescued from certain death in July 1944 after a selection found both of them capable of work. They gradually passed through Stutthof, Dörbeck and Guttau camps, where they had to dig anti-tank trenches. During this hard work Eva’s mother died. Eva’s clogs from Auschwitz fell apart, her feet suffered frostbites that eventually made her unable to walk. Therefore she did not join the death march, and in January 1945 she was liberated by the Soviet Army in the abandoned camp in Guttau.

Eva in 1948, private archive of Evelina Merová

Eva in 1948, private archive of Evelina Merová

On a Soviet ambulance train, she met a Jewish doctor Mojsej Ionovič Mer, who proposed to her, an orphan, an adoption. After a short hesitation, Eva agreed and began her new life in Leningrad in the Soviet Union. She was not allowed to speak about her past and all her efforts were focused on the study. After many twists and turns she finally graduated in German studies. She came to Czechoslovakia as late as in the 60s, after accepting the invitation of Erich Kulka and Otto Kraus, who had added her story in their book The Death Factory. On that occasion, she also met the girls she knew from Terezín. Since then she started coming to her former homeland regularly, almost every year, and in the ’90s she settled in Prague permanently. Yet, she often goes to visit her children and grandchildren to St. Petersburg and Frankfurt am Main, and she also devotes her time to discussions with students and adults sharing so her experience in both totalitarian regimes.

Pa

Resources:

Brenner-Wonschicková, Hannelore: Girls of Room 28. Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt, Brno 2007, p. 17.
Merová, Evelina: Opožděné vzpomínky. Životopis, který se nevešel na jednu stránku. (Late Memories. Biography which Exceeded one Page), p. 41.

The announcement of the results of the Terezín Memorial competitions in 2015

Simon Gašpárek: We draw fro better future, 6 years

Simon Gašpárek: We draw fro better future, 6 years


On 9th June 2015 in the cinema hall of the Ghetto Museum in Terezín, a ceremony was held to announce the winners of the 21st literary and 19th fine art annual competitions of the Terezín Memorial, which bear the subtitle Hana Greenfield’s Memorial to honour their inspirator and co-founder. The former ghetto prisoner, Hana Greenfield-Lustigová died on 27th January 2014 at the age of 87. Her husband, Murray Greenfield , was an honorable guest at the ceremony.

In addition to winners in each category, who mostly came accompanied by their parents or teachers, the ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Town of Terezín and the Ústí nad Labem region. The association of the former Terezín ghetto prisoners was represented by Dr. Michaela Vidláková, who made a speech. Along with Jiří Polák, the son of Erik Polák, a former ghetto prisoner and a later Terezín Memorial historian, they handed over awards to the winners. Another welcomed guest was Žanda Frýdová, the daughter of a former Terezín prisoner, a writer Norbert Frýd. He was the author of the text Flowered Horse, to which Karel Reiner, another ghetto prisoner, composed the music.

Murray Greenfield, photo: Radim Nytl, Terezín Memorial

Murray Greenfield, photo: Radim Nytl, Terezín Memorial


They created the work prior to their deportation in Prague and performed it with children from Jewish orphanages. Later on, it became an important part of the repertoire in the cultural life of the Terezín ghetto. Currently, it was newly staged by the Children’s Choir of Brno, and performed during the awarding ceremony. On the same day in the foyer of the cinema in the Ghetto Museum, there was opened a traditional exhibition of the best works of this year’s art competition, together with four panels to honour the life of Hana Greenfield , her share in the creation of the artistic competitions of the Terezín Memorial, and to map their history. These panels will now accompany the touring exhibitions of the Terezín Memorial Education Department.
Children's Choir of Brno with Žanda Frýdová (second from the right), photo: Radim Nytl, Terezin Memorial

Children’s Choir of Brno with Žanda Frýdová (second from the right), photo: Radim Nytl, Terezin Memorial


In the school year 2014/2015, a total of 495 works from 93 schools throughout the Czech Republic participated in the competitions, 103 works in the literary part and 392 in the fine art part. The lists of winners and awarded works can be found on the website of the Terezín Memorial in the Education section.

 St

New “Art Exhibition of the Terezín Memorial”, Permanent exhibition in the Museum of the Small Fortress

Blanka Stehlíková (right), the author of the exhibition script, during the opening ceremony, May 2015, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín

Blanka Stehlíková (right), the author of the exhibition script, during the opening ceremony, May 2015, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín


In May 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the repressive facilities in Terezín and Litoměřice, the Museum in the Small Fortress of the Terezín Memorial opened a new permanent exhibition of works selected from the Terezin Memorial art collections.

The exhibition presents works by Czech artists devoted to the topic of the fight against Nazism and war, and pays a tribute to artists who were among the first ones in the 1930s to recognize the danger of the emerging Nazi regime and joined the local resistance in their work. Many of them were active abroad too, and many paid for their activities with their lives.

A new Fine art exhibition in the Small Fortress Museum, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín

A new Fine art exhibition in the Small Fortress Museum, photo: Radim Nytl, Památník Terezín


The exhibition starts with cartoons of the 1930s, which, in an impressive and straightforward manner, depict the aforementioned historical events. Another hot topic of that era was the civil war in Spain. Among others, the events also influenced the production of Emil Filla and Josef Capek, whose works are also represented in the exhibition. The end of an uneasy decade brought a new stage to the history of our state, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939. Through displayed paintings visitors get familiar with the oppressive atmosphere of the Protectorate and, at the same time, with the way the art reflected the new political situation, changes which occurred in terms of applied painting techniques, themes, etc. Subsequently, we plunge into the imaginary environment of the Terezín repressive facilities, into jails and concentration camps where many excellent artists, painters and amateurs were imprisoned and where, in spite of inhuman conditions, they created a number of works illustrating the prisoner’s life, psyche, and the atmosphere of the environment. The final exhibition halls focus on the work of the postwar generation, which began to get formed in the normalization times. This generation deals as well, in its own way, with the motives of violence, threats of technological civilization, etc.

The author of the exhibition script, which is unique in the Czech Republic as to its content, is an art historian, journalist, and a member of the Scientific Council of the Terezín Memorial Dr. Blanka Stehlíková.

Se

 

Seminar for Polish teachers in the Terezín Memorial

Seminar for Polish teachers, May 2015, photo: Jolanta Wójcik, ABSM

Seminar for Polish teachers, May 2015, photo: Jolanta Wójcik, ABSM


In late May 2015, 30 Polish teachers visited the Terezín Memorial to take part in the third year of the seminar for Polish teachers, organized by the Terezín Memorial in collaboration with the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau and IPN (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej).

The three-day seminar was opened with a lecture of Tomáš Fedorovič on the position of the Terezín ghetto in the Nazi plans to exterminate the Jewish population. Participants were offered an insight on this issue through documents preserved from the time before the establishment of the ghetto as well as during its existence. The following presentation by Jan Roubínek brought students into the post-war period, an era when the society was dealing with the persecution of the Jews during WW2. In a very comprehensive manner, he introduced different developmental stages which most countries went through in connection with this problem. The following day was devoted to tours of the former ghetto and the police prison in the Small Fortress. The highlight of the day was a meeting with Mrs. Dagmar Lieblová, the former prisoner and surviver of the Terezín ghetto and the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Finally, the seminar participants were informed about the educational activities of the Terezín Memorial and Doc. Vojtěch Blodig presented Terezín as a place of memory, talking about the history and development of the Terezín Memorial. Se

 

Seminaries for the Czech teachers “How to teach about the Holocaust“, Spring 2016

For Spring 2016 the Terezín Memorial lists two terms of the first-level seminars on teaching about the Holocaust, which have been organized since 2000 under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Education at the Jewish Museum in Prague and in the Terezín Memorial.

These training courses are designed not only for teachers of history and social science at all, but also for professionals of other subjects, primary school teachers, etc. They represent the first stage in a multistage educational system. Seminar participants have the opportunity to not only learn more details about the history of the persecution of the Jews, Roma and other population groups during the 2nd World War, but also meet, in subsequent stages, the representatives of foreign organizations which are also engaged in this issue, and to get acquainted with methods of teaching this topic in various European and overseas countries. In the following years they can also visit and learn details about the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Ravensbrück Memorial, and finally they have a chance to attend a multi-day seminar at Yad Vashem in Israel.

So far the seminars have been attended by more than 2.000 Czech teachers and have received a very good reputation, both for its content and organization quality. In spring 2016, visitors can sign up for a seminar on the following dates: 19th – 21st February 2016 and 4th – 6th March 2016. For contacts and the application form, as well as programmes of previous years, please visit the Terezín Memorial website, the section of Education.

Se

 

Literární a výtvarná soutěž Památníku Terezín
Literární a výtvarná soutěž Památníku Terezín
skola_banner

Newsletter Archive

Projects of Czech schools

Videotheke

Videotéka

Newsletter

Editorial board: Naďa Seifertová, Ludmila Chládková, Jiří Kleker
Contact Us: newsletter@pamatnik-terezin.cz

Terezín Memorial on Facebook

Random Quote

Úterý 19. ledna 1943
Cesta byla mizerná. Vstávala jsem velice brzy, ale tak tak jsem byla hotová. Byla jsem tak navlečena, že jsem se nemohla pohnout. Tatínek, teta, Trude a Lea se vezli na saních v Kyjově na dráhu. Strýc Karel a Maří táhli saně a já tlačila. Byli jsme rádi, že jsme se dostali na dráhu, tolik napadlo sněhu. Sháněli jsme zavazadla, ale bylo poměrně málo šumu, myslela jsem, že budou všichni jako bez hlavy. Ve vlaku nebylo místa na sezení. Tatínek při nastupování spadl a zdvihla ho paní doktorová Schöntalová, která velice plakala (je árijka).
Když se vlak rozjížděl, začala všechna kyjovská mládež zpívat české národní písně, za brblání Němců. Jeden četník, který stál u vlaku, byl velice pohnutý a přešel kolem vlaku, každému známému přál šťastný návrat. Za jednu a tři čtvrtě hodiny byli jsme v Uh. Brodě. Nemohla jsem unést svůj baťoh. Dali jsme ho tedy na nákladní auto, tatínek, Trude a Lea jeli také.
… Vzala jsem si 2 chlebníky a a 2 tašky a šla jsem. Když jsem došla do reálky, kde jsme byli kasernovaný, myslela jsem, že upadnu. Paní Vepřekovská mě zavedla k tetě. Ležíme na jedné matraci…
— (Z deníku Helgy Pollakové, popisuje odjezd Židů z Kyjova ke shromaždišti v Uherském Brodě), Brenner-Wonschicková, Hannelore: Děvčata z pokoje 28, Přátelství, naděje a přežití v Terezíně, Barrister & Principal, Praha, 2006, ISBN: 80-87029-03-8.