I have never ceased being proud of being a Czech.
Marta Kottová was born February 22nd 1929 in Černovice u Tábora to Robert and Gabriela Lašová. Her brother Viktor was six years older. They had been living in Černovice till Marta was three, then the family moved to Prague. Since she was five, Marta was an avid scout and Sokol member, and as she says, she has had a happy childhood. With love she remembers the First Republic era and President Masaryk. After the rise of Nazism, the persecution began, which Marta experienced most poignantly when she was forced to surrender her dog. Then there came the transports to Terezín. On December 1st, 1941, her brother Viktor boarded transport AK2, and half a year later, Marta and her parents followed in transport AAR. At first Marta stayed together with her mother in the Hamburg barracks, but then she was moved to a so-called children's house L410. The worst was however yet to come. On October 6th, 1944 they arrived to Auschwitz, where both Marta's parents eventually died. Before Christmas of the same year Marta got to Mährensdorf via Gross-Rosen, where she worked in a flax-processing factory and also performed jobs like opening frozen wagons with a pickaxe. After the liberation in May 1945 and her adventurous return to Prague, she was reunited with her brother Viktor under very emotional circumstances. He has miraculously survived the Nazi horrors, even though he was one of those, who were sent from Terezín to bury the men of Lidice, and thus he was to have been exterminated afterwards. Today, Marta enjoys an abundant life, she is a great-grandmother, and she visits schools, telling children about her experiences, she is also the head of the Historic Group Auschwitz. On October 28th, 2008, the President decorated her with the State Medal for Merit in the field of education.