Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zyta Eliahu - February 3, 2008

Religious life

Um, was it a religious family?

Uh, my grandparents were religious. They were very religious because my father once dictated to me--and I wrote down everything--and my parents told a lot of stories about the grandparents, especially my father--he was very close to his mother. And uh, but my parents were traditional. I think while they were st...I think both of them before they met and married, I think they rode on Shabbat but, you know, they were--they kept kosher at home, they would only eat kosher food. I don't know how much trans...people were transpor...used transport at the time in Poland but at Czechoslovakia they would drive--we would drive on Shabbat and here, when they came here yes. But my mother still kept a kosher home and she wouldn't let me sew on Shabbat and she wouldn't let me knit, so...

What was a Friday night like for you?

It was very nice because my mother would prepare the traditional Polish food. In Czechoslovakia she also learned some Czech dishes and also here in Israel it was the Polish and Czech dishes. It would be chicken soup and gefilte fish and sometimes meat dish and uh, my father--we would light candles and my father would say the ??? prayer and uh, the Shabbat was kept except that we did ride on Shabbat because her sister lived in Haifa and we lived on the other side of the bay. We lived on that side of the bay in the--what we call the Krayot and they lived here in Haifa.

I see. This was after the war.

Yes, this was after the war because you asked me how many people survived and how they survived--oh, you're thinking how Shabbat was in Czechoslovakia

In Czechoslovakia.

It was exactly the same.

And did you go to services?

Yes I remember actually the--we had a beautiful synagogue in Bodenbach, Podmokly, very beautifully and that was the place I first learned Hebrew. I had my first Hebrew lessons there. My father was very much involved with the synagogue and the Jewish community in Podmokly and I always remember this synagogue. When I went back and I visited Prague--went back with my friend, I said, you know, "I very much..." we went to Prague, said, "I very much want to go back to Podmokly and I want to see this synagogue. It's like a dream for me." We managed to find a Czech driver who knew English. It was a two-hour drive to Podmokly from Prague and we went to see where I had--we had lived. It was exactly the same. The building hadn't been kept up very much but there was an empty plot next to the building and it was still there. By this time it had been paved over and was used for parking. It was exactly the same. I remember the theater that was always at the building and they built a new one but it was there. And then the driver asked some lady, he said, "Where's the synagogue?" and she said, "Oh, it's just a few meters down the road but," she says, "it's closed because nobody uses it now." So, we went there and it was exactly as I had imagined it. It had been painted a sort of sandy color. It was very--it's a very beautiful synagogue.

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