Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zyta Eliahu - February 3, 2008

Life in Czechoslovakia

Through the school in Podmokly?

Yes, because I was sent to the kindergarten and also in the summer of '38 they sent me for two months to a Czech village where I only heard Czech and when I came back I hardly remembered any German.

Where was the village?

Uh, it was out in the Czech countryside.

Was it in the Sudetenland still?

I think so because the Sudetenland area's quite a big area. I don't think they would have sent me very far away. Actually I was sent--there was a young girl, a high school girl, who was also living in Podmokly and she used to spend two or three hours with me in the afternoon to teach me Czech. But it didn't succeed very well so I went with her to her grandparent's in the country.

And there you learned Czech.

And there I learned Czech. I came back, I knew Czech perfectly. So in '38 when the Germans invaded the Sudeten area--it was in, I think, about October--we ran away in the middle of the night to Prague. We had fors...my parents had foreseen this so we were sort of packed. We were just waiting to hear that it was going to happen. We ran away to Prague. I spent nearly a year in Prague before I went to England. It was difficult in Prague because we were moving from one family's home to another, having a room, sort of--which was very, sort of, squashed in. And then finally my parents got a one room flat before I left. But in Prague, even though we were in a very difficult situation we still managed to live everyday life. I remember going shopping with my mother. There's some beautiful shops and department stores in Prague. Prague is a lovely city. Have either of you been there?

Not yet.

It's a very beautiful city and when I went back to visit I saw that wide avenue with shops on each side and it reminded me.

So you've been back.

Yes, I have been back.

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