Eva Koubková, roz. Hejzlarová

* 1928  

  • “And for about two weeks I was in Prague in the Fair Palace before there was a train full of us there, before they could fill it up. There were then actually even cross-breeds, children from mixed marriages. Well, various else probably, there were very many of us there. Well, and there I was lost, you know. Because there were many of us there, I didn´t know anybody at all. On the floor there were those jute mattresses only and I with the pack next to me which I was not acquainted with at all. And a blanket and a pillow. And there we were for two weeks before we left. Then a day came and we walked on foot… I think that it was the railway station in Holešovice. And we went there, yes. And I think that the arrival to Terezín… well, I had imagined it… I don´t know at all how I had imagined it. They were young people, nearly nobody was crying, there were older ones than me too, the youth. And they were like talking. And I was… I told myself: ´How do they know each other that they can speak together?´ Well, I didn´t know there anybody at all. And then they put us in Terezín… I think it stayed in me so… such a feeling, such that it was following me always everywhere. There we came in the caserns, they were called Dresden (in reality it was Hamburg – remark of the editor), to the loft. There were hundreds of people, on such tiled, how it usually is in the lofts, and on it there were the mattresses bare. And there such despair simply came to me. I was not really conscious of it actually, but I think it stayed in me, such a feeling of fear and… how to say… until the death… or until now, such pusillanimity.”

  • “It was fenced, the square was fenced so that you couldn´t see out, with some boards. And I with the Germans, there was always only something like… a registration and you had to go to the headquarters and you had always such a terrible fear inside you because they were sitting there behind their desks and you didn´t know what they were writing down there, and it was always usually before the transports. You can´t imagine that. The transports, it was always something terrible. It always got about, you know, that there was spread such an underground… or such… gossip… or something was brought for instance from the policemen because there on the fields and around policemen were keeping guard. And it got spread for example that transports would be going and how it got spread so, so within three days the transports were giving out invitations already. Nobody knew who would get the invitation. But then it was discovered… or it was known that cross-breeds… girls were spared from it so far. And then the invitations were received and the people had to pack again their bag which they had and they went again to the Hamburg caserns because there was a railway siding to the back, for trains. And there we went sometimes to help the people or to baby-sit the children and it was like if you… I will say that in small… for example in the railway station in the hall… were very many people. And on the floor packs with children. Little children, bigger children, old people. Such a lament… And there it was not allowed to go up to the railway siding. And they were calling out the numbers, you were always just a number and now it was like into the wagons… they were those, discharges they were called… goods wagons. And they were driving them that they were there like herrings, and the little kids… well that simply… even the ill ones. Really… there a mother over the bag, because there even a pregnant woman had to go, it was not always possible to avoid it. And so it was horrible. And then, after the transport it got a bit depopulated. Because there were always about five or seven thousand people going. And now for example even someone from the room and now there were the beds, the bunks empty there. It was…. it was so sad, the transports, it was terrible. They knew that they were going somewhere, but exactly nobody knew that they were going de facto for death mostly. Well, when I came to Terezín in the year 1943, then there were sixty thousand people there. It was really… I don´t know… a city for about seven thousand. And when you imagine all the people squeezed there… it streamed there like… it simply was like in a big crowd. And when then the last transports left, it was… well, then I wasn´t meeting nearly anybody there.”

  • “So once there was in Terezín, I think it was in 1944 when the Red Cross came to Terezín. And the square in Terezín was decorated, green plants were set there, new rakes and spades were bought and there was such a garden house, they built it and there music was playing. And the commission arrived and various theatre pieces were rehearsed. And I was chosen, it was called The Dor (or Beatles) and it was beautifully prepared, I was then always relieved for the rehearsals. And there was, I don´t know if you… it was directed by Karel Ančerl and then a man called Hanuš Thein, he was a popular singer… I can´t remember now… well, just known people they were. And meanwhile ballet girls were dancing, I don´t know if today anybody would be able to perform it again. They were all top artists. And so The Dor itself was beautiful. There on the edge sat… it was performed in the gym hall, well, the gym hall is still there. And on the edge of the stage Váva Schönová was sitting, she was then an actress in Israel and she was sitting there in such a costume, they delivered that all simply, that was all sown there. I was singing there, although I couldn´t sing at all, and we sang Spring will come. If you have read The Beatles, so there was always spring, everything was blooming and it always started like that. Like Spring will come. She was reading and we were singing behind the scene Spring will come, it will be May again… such a lovely song, quite long. So we were singing this and a director from Brno was preparing us. Well, it was really as for the National Theatre, only smaller. And Váva Schönová always read a piece from The Beatles and there was the scene… how they were sleeping, waking up. And so I was performing in it too. It is the memory of it. It was a terrible comedy for the Red Cross, probably somewhere from Switzerland. I don’t know, I can´t understand that they swallowed the bait like… if they believed it, God knows.”

  • “Suddenly they were away within a week. We were all there though, because it was not allowed to go anywhere… so who fled, fled. But the Germans, they just left… on their last legs. And then Russians came there, they liberated us there. It was… well, it was an experience too. Because now there arose such a… lots of people were pouring to the road, simply that the liberators were coming. The Russians were coming, but they didn´t us too much… they probably didn´t know, the soldiers, what kind of people were welcoming them. Well,… and then they closed it there due to illnesses, because at that time there was a lot of typhus, because it was brought there by the death marches. Well, and the death marches… it was probably the most terrible thing you could see. Really, such a queue of people was marching from somewhere, completely in rags, bare feet, there the dead were falling. And they brought the typhus and many people died of it after the war in Terezín. We just with Rita also in the caserns, where they put them… well, they were lying there completely. They were getting probably just something to drink, because they would have been terribly sick again. And so we were walking among them, you know, like to serve them… for instance cover them or hand them something. And then it was forbidden, because de facto about eighty percent from them had typhus. Well, so then they closed it there. I got home then with the mother, a man came there to pick up his wife. So we went home, we came to Prague, there were still barricades there and then first in about three days we went home.”

  • “She was the sister of my Mum´s mother, when she went to Terezín, she was… I don´t know now. Well, she was old. And she was placed… she was not too grown, small, she had a hump… terribly small, single, an old woman she was. And she was placed, it was called… (Siechenheim – remark of the editor), on the ramparts there, there were such ghastly lodging houses. And there they simply moved these old people and there were terribly many of them. And I went to see her sometimes, I always took a friend with me. She was called Jetty… aunt Jetty and we called her Jettinka. And my parents used to send her lunch every day. She lived behind the square, it was a Jewish street, there were foundation houses there, there was a synagogue and there were such two foundation houses and there she lived. And every day my parents sent her lunch. And when I came to her, she blamed me and swore at me terribly why my Mum was not sending her lunches. She was angry with her, that she would slug it out with her. But she died there then. Because there were, I don´t know… hundreds of people… and all of them very old and nuts, you know… Well, there was a roar. I had to laugh there sometimes. Not that I would cry over her. And when she told me: ´Why doesn´t your Mum send me lunches?´, so I had to laugh at it, I said: ´I have brought you something here.´ ´It is no lunch!´ Well, they did that, what they added to other people, they took it away from these people, because they needed to get rid of them, didn´t they?”

  • “I was born in Náchod, also my parents were born in Náchod. And unfortunately, like my Mum was from a Jewish family, my Dad was from quite a religious catholic family. Well, it can´t have been too easy for them at that time when they wanted to get married. Because their parents were probably not too excited. And I had a nine years older sister too. Then I was born. And when I was about five years old, to break it short a little, I got whooping cough, and whooping cough was at that time very persistent. So my Mum´s sister took me to her to Beroun and I actually stayed there for the whole five years. Well, they took me home for every feast and holidays. And always, when I returned, I was sitting in a corner and crying and my aunt said: ´So if you are missing them, we will go to Náchod.´ But I had there already those my own things. And I liked them very much, the aunt and uncle. And so I always got over it. And I stayed there until 1940. And my uncle said one day: ´Eva must go to Náchod, it looks horrible!´ Everything probably. I didn´t understand that either. You know that at the age of eleven or twelve the person is completely different and at that time in general, we children were so naïve. And so they took me to Náchod then. And they went then as ones of the first, absolutely ones of the first, straight to Poland. They didn´t go over Terezín at all, went straight to Poland and somewhere near Lodz, somewhere there they perished soon. Well, and so I was then at home, I went to school in Náchod for about two weeks and Mrs director said: ´Well, Eva, you can´t come here, because… well, it is not possible.´ So I, then my Mum or parents found for me, in Hronov they took me to school again, so I went to Hronov. And there for about three weeks again, probably somebody didn´t wish it, well. So I stopped going to Hronov as well. Then I took lessons, so that I wouldn´t grow too idiotic. Here in the New World there were the Bandlers, they were Jews too, and their Irena still had time to do the school leaving exam, and so I went to see her every morning and she was teaching me. She was so flimsy… She didn´t come back then either, none of them came back. So I went to her to take lessons. I already started to wear the star at that time too, I carried always a book over it because I was ashamed of it terribly. It was in 1942, they were going to transport again, so then I was there… somebody did me… Here a Paták family lived and Mrs teacher Patáková was not afraid and I took lessons from her then too. But then, in the end it was not possible any more either, because you know how the regime… So somebody said: ´The girl takes lessons from the teacher.´ And everybody with it… Well, and then, I don´t know, then I was probably at home for some time and in 1943 in May I went to Terezín.”

  • “The epidemic of typhus, it was sometimes in spring 1943. And it was really very cruel, because many people died and many of the young ones too, didn´t they. And mostly the girls, they were then with me in the L 414. When they recovered… they lost their hair completely and beautiful, curly hair grew then to all of them. And I lived in the bunk with a Helga Jukrová, she was a girl from Ostrava, and she, just when I arrived there, she had the typhus behind her. Old like me. Otherwise in our place there was no typhus any more. But then it broke out there… I don´t know in which year it was… probably 1944… the encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. It was simply a serious illness too, it was infectious, it was spreading out there quite a lot. And they cleared up the gym hall there then, in there the theatres were played later. And there they were putting the ill people with the encephalitis. It was not a very nice illness. There were very many infections there. Terribly many. Such a main hospital, it was the Vrchlabí caserns. All the caserns in Terezín had their own names, you know. So the Vrchlabí ones, they were reserved only… it was just a hospital… a sick-bed one. They were trying there how they best could, well. There were the best authorities there, because there were huge amounts of good doctors collected there, and not only doctors, simply the intelligentsia was there. And that´s why there was everything such, maybe possible to survive, you know. Because they were trying… there in that horror to help it somehow. Somebody could say that theatre or music was played there, but it was all with the horrors and illnesses… Simply the leadership of Terezín, they were not really noticing it probably, because they knew… may the people frolic a little, they would get rid of them with the time anyway.”

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    v Náchodě, 13.08.2008

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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On the floor there were those jute mattresses only and I with the pack next to me which I was not acquainted with at all. And a blanket and a pillow

Eva Koubková - old photo
Eva Koubková - old photo
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Eva Koubková, nee Hezlarová, was born on 3rd September 1928 in Náchod. Her mother came from a Jewish family and father from a very religious catholic family. Her sister Mrs Hana was baptized, but the father let little Eva inscribe into a Jewish register. In May 1943 she received an order to leave to Terezín, she was the only one from the family. As a girl from a mixed Jewish marriage she was spared from transport to the East, but she spent two years in Terezín. Her father was sent to forced labour to Germany, to Klettendorf, and mother to Prague, Hagibor, where mica was stripped away. Her Mum came to Terezín in February 1945, they lived to see the liberation together. After the war everybody returned to Náchod. In 1949 she got married and had two sons. She lived in Náchod for whole her life and in 2008 she celebrated her 80th birthday.