Michael t weiss dating
From this apartment we were deported.” I look around, quickly taking in a piano (on the same spot where her father, a bank official, used to play Chopin), a brown sofa scattered with knitted cushions (“saved by our non-Jewish friends during the war”) and a contemporary poster of a young female cellist, her granddaughter. “I have a lot of butterflies,” she agrees, and points at the stained-glass orange one embedded in the window, four dangling in the net curtain, a blue one pinned to the wall.
“Because butterflies mean freedom.” She finds it interesting that there were none at Terezín – “only lice and bedbugs”.
On the right side, he let go those younger and able to work.
On the other side, mothers and small children and the old.” At 15, Helga was too young to be a worker. “I am not religious, but in that moment I start to pray.
It was while watching a butterfly settle on a flower as she stumbled up the hill to her fourth and final concentration camp, Mauthausen, that Helga reached a simple decision: she wanted to live.
Of the 15,000 Jewish children under the age of 15 deported to Terezín, Helga was one of a mere 100 ever to see Prague again.
I ask God to leave me and my mother together.” For whatever reason, the man lifted his finger, snarled at both of them: “Rechts! I had a lot of hair, dark blonde, long enough, and I remember my mother finished earlier than me.
” She was led into a room with 500 others to be shaved. I was looking for her, I couldn’t recognise her – my mother, the same. I saw some shoes in the street the other day, and I remember how shoes or a piece of bread would save somebody’s life.
If it seems surprising that such a diary should surface at this point, it should be explained that parts of it were published in the Sixties, in a Czech anthology, and Helga had no idea anyone was interested beyond that.
And after that we were going to be included in a transport, until my father managed to stop it. He was waving and trying to smile, but it was not a smile.” Three days later, it was the turn of Helga and her mother. We supposed it was a factory.” She waits for it to sink in.
For one plum, you could pay with your life.” In October 1944, Helga’s father was loaded on to a railway truck. Their destination – Auschwitz-Birkenau – meant nothing to them. “Everything was terrible, but everything was much worse than we supposed.” She stepped on to the ramp with her mother.
“Education was forbidden, but the Germans wanted to show it was a normal place.” A building was tarted up to look like a school, with a sign reading “Holidays” to explain the absence of teachers and pupils.
More signs pointed the way to parks and public baths.
Helga got out of the ghetto and eventually back to Prague, where she lives in a short street of flat-fronted apartment blocks.