Hana Greenfield has passed away (3rd November 1926 – 27th January 2014)

Hana Greenfield

Hana Greenfield

On 27th January 2014, when the world commemorated the Holocaust Memorial Day, sad news arrived in Terezin in the early evening – Hana Greenfield had died. Born in Kolin in the former Czechoslovakia, prisoner of the Terezin Ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, since 1952 living in Israel.

After the war, which deprived her of mom, dad and home at all, she needed to talk about her experiences. Her relatives living in London, however, advised her not to talk about that and try to forget. Initially she tried to deal with this “wish”, even though it was very difficult.

It was not until she had moved to Israel many years later that she found the freedom for her ideas. The turning point was for her, as well as for other survivors, the trial with Adolf Eichmann, to which former prisoners were called as witnesses. Then Hana found out that she was not alone with her sadness and memories, that there were many others like her, and that she did not have to be ashamed for what she had gone through.

Survivors of the Holocaust began to be invited to schools and educational institutions were interested in them. The imaginary starting field for Hana were schools attended by her children. She was afraid that she would not manage to speak to a wider audience about her experiences. Therefore, she carefully prepared each of her presentations. The questions posed by listeners made her do more thorough preparations and study the Holocaust. In the course of time, she even developed and in cooperation with the Israeli Yad Vashem Memorial led an educational programme, whose aim was to teach former inmates of concentration camps how to talk about their experiences.

After the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989, Hana began to regularly visit her home country, set up a partnership with the Education Department of the Terezin Memorial and initiated the organization of the literary and art contests for youth that have been held until today. However, these contests and artistic creations of the young generation are not the only legacy that Hana Greenfield has left behind.

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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.