Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zyta Eliahu - February 3, 2008

German Invasion

Tell about when the Germans--were you in the Sudetenland when the Germans came in?

When we left--you see, when Hitler declared that he was going to invade--he was going to take the Sudeten to save the Germans as he phrased it, and straight away--was the middle of the night--just took our packages, went to the station and went to Prague. I was in Prague when the Germans invaded yes, because they invaded in March and I left in July.

What are your memories of that, of that time?

As I said I was never aware--fully aware of the danger. All I knew was that we had to get away. And at first I thought I was going to go with my parents to Palestine, you know, all these illegal transports that were going. I thought I would go like that because my mother spoke about that. And, you know, the thing was, we saw the Germans marching in--I think there's quite a lot of footage--film footage about--you see the Germ...Czech people standing there and um, watching it co...watching them. We saw a lot of German soldiers when we would go around, you know, walking around Prague and into shops buying things but I wasn't really conscious of the Gestapo. I wasn't conscious of that and the only time I knew that was just before I left they arrested my father and...

For what reason?

I don't know. I--they arrested my father and I was ready to leave in, I don't know, two or three days, or maybe it was more. Maybe it was a week. My mother said she didn't know--my mother didn't know what to do. Should--they had persuaded me to go to England. I did not want to go to England at all. I didn't want to be separated from my parents. And they had said, "Look, it's not going to be for long. It'll just be for two or three months. You're going to go to England, we're going to Palestine and the reason we can't take you with us is because this group is only young couple without children." I think things were getting difficult. Back in '38 the British let whatever--whoever came--they more or less let them come in. They maybe were in a detention camp but eventually they were allowed to stay. But by '39--I'm talking about say, May, June, July--it was getting more difficult, it was getting more dangerous and they didn't want to take couples with children.

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