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Anna Hyndráková, roz. Kovanicová (1928) - Biography

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"I went to visit Auschwitz several times. But I always came back from there fairly frustrated."

Ann Hyndráková was born in 1928 to a Jewish family. She spent her early childhood the same way as thousands of other Czech children and according to her words, the Czech identity was equally important as the Jewish identity for her family. In 1938 came Munich and with it the anxiety of what would follow. At the same time, however, there was faith that the present situation will be short-lived. The year 1939 brought the invasion of the German troops and the creation of the Protectorate. In 1941, Jews had to wear the humiliating star on their clothes and many more special regulations and restrictions - the purpose of which is to isolate Jews from public life - follow. Nevertheless, the Jews still believe that all of this has to end soon. Ann Hyndráková - at this point still Kovanicová - experienced bullying in school; she's not allowed to run in squares and parks and to greet acquaintances. Eventually, the only remaining place where she can play is Jewish graveyards in Vinohrady, Old town, and the so-called Hagibor. The father of the family loses his job and is forced to paint lamp shades at home - the children help as well - to provide for the basic living needs of the family. In 1942, the tragic story of the Kovanic family begins. At the end of this story, Anna is the only family member to survive. The family got on a transport to the Theresienstadt ghetto (in Czech Terezínské ghetto) in October 1942 after having spent six weeks in a gathering camp in Prague-Holešovice. They arrived in Theresienstadt on the 24th of October. Ann's pregnant sister, Truda, and her husband Francis were already waiting in Theresienstadt for them. In the summer of 1944 Ann and her parents were chosen for the eastern transport to Auschwitz. After the arrival in Auschwitz and a temporary stay in the so-called "family camp," there followed the notorious selection. Ann passed and was sent to the "Frauenlager", i.e. the part of the camp for women, whereas her parents didn't pass - after a short stay in the family camp on the other side of the platform - sent to the gas chambers. Ann's sister Truda and her little daughter arrived in Auschwitz in the autumn and were sent from the transport directly to the gas chambers. Ann Kovanicová (Hyndráková) was able to get out of the extermination camp after some time and subsequently lived in several other camps, however, had more favorable regimes. Together with two friends, she later managed to escape from the death march dispatched from Christianstadt to the infamous Bergen-Belsen. After a few days on the run, however, they were caught by the SS and sent back to the labor camp Niesky and later on to Görlitz, which was headed by the sadistic murderer, a professional villain, Hermann Czech. Ann Kovanicová (Hyndráková) left Görlitz by the beginning of May 1945 when the approach of the Red Army led to the disintegration of the camp's administration and guard. She left on a horse-drawn cart along with twelve other people that were leaving for their homes. She reached Prague with three other people with a poster saying: From the concentration camp back home. From Ann's family, however, nobody but herself returned home.

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