Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Federman - February 13, 2008


Do you have any memories from before the war, in Prague, when you were a child? You went to school...

I went to school. I really lived--didn't live, uh, with, uh, Jewish, uh, friend. I was the only Jewish girl in the, in the, the class, and I had only non--Jewish friends. Only the last year--'38--I don't know how--if my mother was behind it--I went to a movement which is called ???, in German Blau--Weiss, a, a Zionist Socialist movement. And I was even in a summer camp in '39 when Hitler was--we still, we still had a camp. And there I--really, only there I, uh, met some Jewish children.

So you had all non--Jewish friends. Did your mother also have non--Jewish friends?

Yes, she had I think mostly non--Jewish friends.

Do, do you remember any anti--Semitism ever, in, in the school or...

There--once somebody in another class told me "You dirty Jew...Jewess", yes? So my, I was, we were only two girls in the class, because it was a, a ??? shul ??? gymnasium, yes? How do you say in English?

Um, it's like a high school, middle school.

No, no, no, it was a high school, but not, uh, classic. We didn't learn Lat-- Latin because at the time there were gymnasiums was Latin. There it was, like for, uh, uh, before a technion.

So, it was a technical school.

Technical gymnasium. Yes.

And you were studying drawing, is that what you said?

No, I, that was, I, uh, always started drawing but the fashion I started really during the war when I didn't have school. I couldn't stay the whole day at home.

I see. So you only remember one experience like that? One anti--Semitic experience...

It was one experience. All the boys from my class started a war with the other who told me Jewish--Jewess. But I really remember, I was living like a, like a Czech, a real Czech. But I don't know if you know, you know the history of Czechoslovakia. My parents were Austrian. My father was in the Austrian Army, a officer...

Habsburg Empire.

Yes. And my mother, when it started, Hitler, say to--said, "Nothing could happen to us, my, my husb...your father was a Austrian officer."

In the First World War.

In the first war. And his brother uh, died in the war--fell in the war. So, you know, we Czech--the Czech Jews were very naïve.

Well, you were Czech.

We were Czech and we had a very good life.

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