Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zyta Eliahu - February 3, 2008

Life Before the War

How large was the Jewish community in Podmokly?

Where? In, in...

In Podmokly.

In Podmokly? I really don't know but there was quite a lot. I mean, the fact that we had such a--we had a big syna...it was a quite a big synagogue there, I think it must have been quite big.

And did you live in a specifically Jewish neighborhood or was it...

Um, no but there were Jews living opposite on the other side of the street and in the same area, you know, we were close to each other, within walking distance.

Did you have non-Jewish friends when you were a child?

Well when I went to the--not actively, no. Of course, when I went to the kindergarten I became friends with--when I went to school I became friends with them. One summer--I think I was six--my parents sent me to a Jewish summer school in Czechoslovakia.

I see, so that would have been very difficult. Did you speak Hebrew there?

No, no, I didn't speak any Hebrew. I didn't speak Hebrew until I came here.

Did you ever experience any anti-Semitism as a child?

Um, not really. I don't know if I was old enough to recognize anti-Semitism because you don't--the children in the '30s, we didn't have television and you weren't reading newspapers so I really was not aware of the danger that existed for my family or myself when I was Prague. I really had no idea that it was so dangerous once the Germans invaded the whole of Czechoslovakia because we saw the Germans marching into Prague in March '39.

You were in Prague when they came in.


Do you remember the Munich Conference?


The Munich Conference?


When the, when the allies basically gave...

Oh, I see what you mean. You know, I was not aware of that in Czechoslovakia. I don't think I was even aware of it in England. It was only when I came here.

What about Tomas Masaryk? Do you remember ever hearing...

Well, you know, my father mentioned him, talking about him. He would say what a wonderful president he was and that he brought democracy and advancement and he helped to develop Czechoslovakia.

He was a hero.


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