Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Federman - February 13, 2008


Was your family religious?

No, never. In the contrary, my father, I think, was Atheist--was against. Because I never saw--never had a Seder or something, I didn't know. Chanukah I think we had instead of a tree or so.

But you identified as Jews.

Yes. Yes. And also in our, in, uh, in Czechoslovakia it was nationality, the Czech, religion Jewish.

Jewish. Do you remember Masaryk?

Yes. He gave me my--his hand even.

Oh, you shook his hand?

Yes. Because when still our live was, uh, all right, yes, with my father. We lived in a very nice neighborhood and it was near a park--a big park. And I used to go with, uh, with, uh, somebody who was caring for me, yes? A kindermaid, you know.

Yeah, nanny.

A nanny--to this park and he used to go on the, on the horse there always in the morning. And once I came near him, and I said to him--we called him, uh, Father Masaryk, Tatíček Masaryk--and he bend down and give, give me his hand. And when he die, my mother went with, uh, our maid to the castle, to, to, to the coffin and it was like a serpentine, you know, it took hours...

To view the body.

...to, to view the, the coffin.

He was a great hero.

Yes. I--you see, I wrote a book which is in Hebrew. I, I brought it only to show you. Uh, I have a English translation, but without the pictures. So if somebody reads it, you must read two books. It's not only about my life. It's really a history of the time. And there I wrote about Masaryk--that we went to school--I don't remember when it was--what month--but we went to school when it was dark because Czechoslovakia, you know, in October already it's dark. And everybody was crying on, on, on the street. He was a big man.

And then there was Beneš.

There was Beneš, who--I don't know. I can't say anything about him.

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