Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Visiting Prague Jewish Museum


And I remember that when I found--or I was given after going back to Prague at, at the end of the war--a letter which my mother wrote to say goodbye to my sis...and I was living with my auntie--the one who's my mother sister who buried mother in, in Belsen. I cried my eyes out after I read it and I said, "I should have been with them," you know, "I should have been there to hold their ha...hand and everything." And my aunt just went ballistic, she said, "Don't you dare say that, don't you ever dare say that. Don't you realize that the one happiness both your mother and father had--and I," she said, "was knowing, in safe hands in England." And so, it's...

Nothing's simple, is it?

No, life isn't simple. But you asked me about my identity and I just wanted to say that I was torn into shreds about wondering where is my niche? Where do I belong? And then when--after the war and when Dub?ek was um, in office, my husband uh, had had a very bad coronary and he decided he'd take me to Prague first. You know, I hadn't been since I ran away in uh, as I said, in '6...'68--in '48, sorry. And uh, it was--yes, it was when we were there--one of our colleagues from ??? one day took my husband and me to the Jewish Museum. And I don't know if you've been to the Prague Jewish Museum, but there's a--it's a little old museum--synagogue, really--museum. When our--the walls are lined with all the names of the Jews who perished including--that they were in there then. All there was--little round staircase, and at the top there was a little room, and it had like a tree trunk in the middle with a notice just pinned to it, and scribblings of drawings round the walls. And the words from the notice board said, "This is all that remains of the fifteen thousand Czech Jewish children."


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