“Back then my husband went to England because the Germans came here. Jews weren’t allowed to work in those days, so they sat in a café and discussed what would happen. That was in 1939. The Germans raided the café and looked for something to pin on the Jews. They pinned on my husband that he hadn’t paid his taxes, so they said he had to pay them in three days, or else they’d come for him. That was the reason why my husband decided – they had a secret route through Moravia to Vienna – to leave the country. He left a wife and a boy, about seven years old, behind.”
“When I met him at the office and worked for him, I was impressed by how travelled he was. He had travelled a lot, he knew England. Back then I longed to go see the world, so that really impressed me. He had even been in Persia because he had worked for a Persian firm, importing cotton from Persia. I was impressed by how much he knew the world. He spoke perfect English, and German, he was an out-going, cosmopolitan man. He also took an interest in religion, both Christian and Jewish. But he didn’t go to the synagogue. I liked him even though he was so many years older than me, so we got acquainted. We were happy together.”
“Then the year 1967 came, and the war, and it was bad. It was terribly sad, a lot of young Jewish boys died, from 18 to 22 years old. For the parents who lost their children it was very sad. After the war my husband went on holiday to Austria, but I didn’t want to go anywhere. When he came back, he started having problems with his heart, and he died in 1971. I was alone, but I also wasn’t alone because we had a lot of friends.”
“I wasn’t interested in it. The main thing was that they let me be here, that they let me live here. I looked after my mum, no one bothered me with anything, they let me live here in peace, I didn’t have any trouble. [Q: Didn’t they want you, for instance, to...] They didn’t want anything, no one asked anything of me. That is, I remember that when I arrived they tried to get me to join the Party. I didn’t want to, and they didn’t have any problem with that.”
Marie Feuersteinová, née Brücknerová, was born on 1 January 1922. She grew up in the family of a forester in Kobylice near Nechanice; she had two sisters. After completing town school (upper primary) in Nechanice, she attended a business academy in Hradec Králové in 1938-1942. She passed her graduation exams in 1942 and was then employed in an office. After the war she found a job at a trading company in Prague, where she met Karel Feuerstein in 1947; the couple married in 1949. Her husband was from a Jewish family and had emigrated to England in 1939. He had experienced the war there and had briefly served as a soldier in a Czechoslovak unit. His first wife and son had died in Auschwitz. Karel Feuerstein decided to emigrate to Israel after the Communist coup in 1948. He left legally in spring 1949, and his wife Marie followed him in December later that year. The couple settled down in Ramat Gan. Karel worked as a company representative and later as a trader; Marie worked in a society that looked after abandoned animals. Her husband died in 1971. Marie Feuersteinová regularly visited Czechoslovakia from the 1960s; in 1983 she returned permanently to look after her ill mother. She was employed as a civil servant in Hradec Králové, where she lives to this day.