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Michal Efrat (1926) - Biography


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I remained silent up until the trial of Adolf Eichmann

Michal Efrat, née Evelina Schlachetová, was born on 27 April 1926 in Moravian Ostrava into a Jewish family. Her parents ran a chocolate company. Besides Evelina they were also bringing up her brother Arnošt (born 1922). Evelina Schlachet was a member of the Zionist group Tchelet lavan (Blue-White) and in 1938 was making arrangements for immigration to Palestine. However, this never took place. In 1939 her father was deported into a camp in Nisko, Poland. The camp was dissolved less than a year later and her father returned home. On 30 September 1942 the whole Schlachet family left for the Terezín ghetto. Evelina used to work there first in agriculture and later in a laundry. Her father died in Terezín of heart attack. On 18 December 1943 she, her mother and brother were transported to the Auschwitz family camp. She witnessed the mass murder of the family camp detainees which was carried out on 8 - 9 March 1944. In June 1944 she and her mother passed the selection and were transferred from Auschwitz to work in Hamburg. Her brother Arnošt stayed behind in the Auschwitz family camp where he died in the summer of 1944. Evelina and her mother were cleaning rubble and digging trenches in four different labor camps in Hamburg. Eight months later they were transported to the Bergen-Belsen camp where they lived to see its liberation on 15 April 1945. On 27 April 1945 her mother succumbed to a typhus epidemic. In the summer of 1945 Evelina Schlachet returned to Prague and for a short while stayed with her relatives in Prague and Kopřivnice. In the fall of 1945 she began studying a high school of graphic design but shortly before graduation left with the last legal convoy to Palestine where she arrived in May 1949. She settled in the Givat Chajim kibbutz, changed her name to Michal and following a wedding in 1950 adopted her husband's surname Efrat. After working for the kibbutz for several years she returned to arts, teaching courses and working in a publishing house. Ever since 1952 Michal Efrat illustrated tenths of children books. She still lives in the Givat Chajim kibbutz.

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