Czechoslovakian Jewish civilian in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, 1938-1942; inmate in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia, 1/1942-10/1944 and Auschwitz II-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland, 10/1944-11/1944; forced labourer constructing fortifications in East Prussia, Germany, 11/1944-1/1945; inmate in Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp, Germany, Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria and Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany, 2/1945-4/1945
REEL 1 Background in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, 1922-1938: family circumstances; education. Recollections of period as civilian in Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, 1938-1942: her explusion from school for being Jewish; degree to which Jews were assimilated into society; character of mobilisation during Munich Crisis, 9/1938; contact with refugees; German invasion of Czechoslovakia, 3/1939; registration of Jewish population; increasing German restrictions; details of being expelled from school; reasons for attending English Institute in Prague; arrest of father by Gestapo, 9/1940-10/1940; father's imprisonment in Buchenwald Concentration Camp and Bayreuth,Germany; aunt who travelled to GB as domestic servant.
REEL 2 Continues: degree of collaboration and resistance amongst Czech population; effect of occupation on living standards; preparations for transport, 1/1942. Recollection of period as inmate in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia, 1/1942-10/1944: German treatment of Jewish inmates during train journey; character of camp; German names for barracks; lack of free movement and living space; contrast between Czech and German inmates; organisation of camp; choice of people for transportation; working in the kitchens; lack of contact with Germans; incident of Jewish inmates being hanged for smuggling cigarettes; cultural life in camp and participation in plays; importance of satire; memories of Karel Svenk.
REEL 3 Continues: nature of selection process; visit by Adolf Eichmann and Red Cross, 6/1943; question of why inmates wanted to avoid transportation. Recollections of transportation from Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz II-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland, 10/1944: transportation, 16/10/1944; composition of group; preparations for journey. Recollections of period as inmate in Auschwitz II-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland, 10/1944-11/1944: initial impressions on arrival at camp; sight of Dr Josef Mengele; selection process; hiding ring given to her by boyfriend; head shaving; adjusting to camp rules and its effect on survival; description of showers; issue of clothing.
REEL 4 Continues: description of barracks; visit by camp electricians and her reaction to being told of the fate of her mother; daily routine including roll calls and food; nature of camp rumours; washing process; treatment by kapos; incident of having to give blood for German soldiers; reaction to having to walk back to barrack block without escort. Recollections of period as forced labourer building fortifications in East Prussia, Germany, 11/1944-1/1945: reaction to being transported in black truck; inmates attitude towards rations; arrival at farm and accommodation in barns; coping with weather conditions; nature of work; coping with working conditions; carrying tree trunks to sawmill; state of prisoners health; start of march westwards, 21/1/1945; occasion when German gave her a bun.
REEL 5 Continues: Recollections of march westwards away from advancing Soviet forces, Germany, 1/1945-2/1945: hearing explosions on leaving, 21/1/1945; supporting each other when sleeping and walking; sight of German refugees; shooting of prisoners who fell by wayside; decision not to stay behind at River Oder; crossing River Oder. Aspects of period as inmate in Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp, Germany, 2/1945: sight of male prisoners; accommodation in barracks. Aspects of train journey from Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp, Germany to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria,, 2/1945: character of journey; lack of food and water; reaction to snow fall; removal of bodies from train. Recollections of period as inmate in Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Germany, 2/1945: arrival and march to top of rock; incident of guard grabbing her and telling her that for every slab of rock was a head; showering and accommodation in barracks; sight of inmates transporting rags; snatching clothing; composer's wife who stepped out of line, walked towards wire and died. Aspects of train journey from Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria to Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany, 3/1945: writing message as train passed through home town of Rokycany; aid given by Czech workers in Pilsen. Recollections of period as inmate in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany, 3/1945-4/1945: reaction to arrival at camp.
REEL 6 Continues: daily routine; character of rations; incident of finding knife and how it was subsequently found by Irma Grese; outbreak of typhus; removal of corpses; lack of water and having to drink from puddles; state of health. Aspects of liberation of camp by British troops of 11th Armoured Div, Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany, 4/1945: collapse in front of Red Cross hut; story of treatment by British officer; departure from camp; period of hospitalisation in Sweden. Reflections on Holocaust experience: nature of treatment by guards; question of contrast in male and female inmate's survival rates; pyschological state; constant tension; co-operation between inmates; stealing in camps; hearing how her brother had been shot trying to escape.
REEL 7 Continues: state of health; inmate's pyschological state; question of a will to live; lack of religion in camps except Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia; nature of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany; lack of contact with civilians on march westwards; question of the role of fantasy in the survival process and importance of human relationships; question of gaining from experience as survivor.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.