In 2018 the Terezín Memorial´s Department of Documentation succeeded in acquiring several new items for its photo archive collections. The single most interesting new arrival is the donation by a lady from Rychnov nad Kněžnou. This involves a set of 27 original photographs from the estate of her uncle, mother´s brother, Bohuslav Mahler from Solnice (district of Rychnov nad Kněžnou). The set may be divided into two parts: the first one comprising family photos, the other featuring pictures of colleagues and friends of Bohuslav Mahler from the Jewish working party deployed in the forests of the Solnice district. Before the war Bohuslav, known among his friends as Bojda, owned a small weaving mill near Solnice. He was popular with his employees thanks to his amiable nature. He also built a house for his family and for his mother in Solnice. He had the house registered to his mother who was a Catholic. She and her two daughters escaped racial persecution.
Bojda was married to Matylda, née Hitschmannová, hailing from Náchod. Matylda´s parents owned there a small textile factory. At the time of their departure for transport the youg Mahlers had a five-year son Petřík. Up to this day the donor of the photographs recalls how much little Petřík was looking forward to his transport, to ride in a train…
The second part of the photographs from the estate captures members of the Jewish working party, who were deployed as lumberjacks in the Orlické Mountains. Bojda willingly offered his friends from far away to stay in his new house. As suggested by the extant pictures, the young men did not lose their sense of humor even during the grim times of war when they had to wear the stars of David on their chests. One photograph shows them all posing in a single line in the forest near Brocná. The photograph is all the more valuable because of the possibility to identify each of the 9 depicted men. Dating back to the same period is a set of 21 photos, 21 collages and caricatures. Interestingly, the pictures also depict the siblings of some well-known personalities from the Terezín Ghetto, for instance brother of writer Karel Poláček – Milan.
Unfortunately, only very few people from the pictures, contained in the set, survived their imprisonment. Bojda with his wife and their 5-year son Petřík were transported from Rychnov nad Kněžnou on December 14, 1942 to an assembly point in Hradce Králové. From there they were sent by train to Bohušovic nad Ohří on December 17, 1942; they had to walk the rest of the way from the railway station to the Terezín Ghetto. In Terezín the family spent the last two years of their lives. On September 29, 1944 Bohuslav Mahler was called up for a transport to the East (to the Auschwitz concentration camp). However, during the journey he was shot by a German guard when throwing away a crumpled piece of paper. He died of the injuries sustained already on the train before arrival in the camp. Matylda with Petřík also left Terezín for the Auschwitz concentration camp, namely five days later, on October 4, 1944. Both were murdered in a gas chamber.