Gerta Sachsová, the fate of her family during the WWII

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Letter from Gerta Sachsová addressed to family friends. Sachsová was deported with her husband from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in July 1943, from where she was sent to Auschwitz in autumn 1944. Her parents and husband perished. Sachsová describes their fate and her difficult postwar adaptation.

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Document Text

  1. English
  2. Czech
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My Dears,

We are overjoyed that we are finally in written touch with you and that we can write to you in our mother tongue. We have so much to tell you that there isn’t enough paper in the world that could contain it all. Unfortunately, it’s mostly all bad news. So little of it is good. As you have perhaps already learned from Maruška, out of our whole family only Hanka and I returned, but we are happy that at least the two of us were reunited. I must tell you all about our departure from Prague. As you know, Kurt and I were transported to Theresienstadt in July 1943 to be with our

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parents and Hanka. We were together there for 1 ¼ years. We were doing rather well, all told. Kurt and my parents worked in the office, Hanka in the bakery, and I mostly did nothing because I was sick. Then, in the fall of 1944, we were gradually transportedfather left separately, mother with Hanka, and I with Kurt. All of the transports went to Auschwitz. You cannot imagine what we suffered through. I don’t want to describe our experiences and so it’s perhaps a little cruel of me to write and tell you so directly that our dear mother died there. Father, who successfully made it past the selection process, was shot on the Czech border on May 3rd, 1945, just 5 days before the end of the war, during the evacuation of the labor camp where he was sent. Kurt was separated from me in Theresienstadt near the train and it was only when I returned to Prague that I learned that he was held for about 3 weeks in the Small Fortress and was supposedly shot there. We are positive regarding father since he was with Hanka’s young man, who returned. Jirka also returned and we’re living together with him now. I ran into Hanka by happy chance in Prague. She had come back one month earlier than I and she no longer believed that I would return. I’m sure you can imagine what our life is like now. Our financial situation is miserable; we don’t have enough clothes to wear.
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I’ll likely find an office job. Hanka is graduating in September and then she’ll probably make her living as an illustrator. In short, this is all that we wanted to tell you about what we went through. We don’t know what the future holds. We are in touch with Maruška. Her little Jana is so adorable. We have visited them several times. Please write us soon and let us know if you are coming. We would love to see you, we have so much to tell. You can’t imagine how we are faring. But at least we are happy that you will come and see us.

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Drazí,

jsme neskonale šťastny, že jsme konečně s Vámi v písemném styku a můžeme Vám psát v naší mateřštině. Máme Vám toho tolik co říci, že ani papír na vše nestačí. Bohužel moc málo hezkého, samé smutné zprávy. Jak jste se snad již dozvěděli od Marušky, vrátily jsme se s Hankou z celé rodiny úplně samy, a jsme šťastny, že jsme se alespoň my dvě shledaly. Musím Vám vše vylíčit od našeho odjezdu z Prahy. Jak víte jeli jsme s Kurtem v červenci 1943 do Terezína za

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rodiči a Hankou, kde jsme ještě strávili společně 1 ¼ roku. Dařilo se nám tam poměrně dosti dobře, Kurt a rodiče byli v kanceláři, Hanka v pekárně a já jsem většinou nedělala nic, jelikož jsem byla nemocná. Pak v roce 44 na podzim jsme byli postupně transportováni a sice tatínek zvlášť, maminkaHankou, a já s Kurtem. Transporty šly všechny do Osvěčíma. Nemůžete si představit, co jsme všechno prodělali. Nechci Vám líčit naše zážitky a je snad ode mne trochu kruté, že Vám přímo napíši, že naše drahá mamička tam zahynula a tatínek, který šťastně prošel selekcí, byl dne 3. května 1945, tedy 5 dní před koncem války, už na českých hran. při ev. prac. tábora, v kterém byl, zastřelen. Kurt, byl při vagon. v Ter. ode mě oddělen a dozvěděla jsem se teprve při návratu do Prahy, že byl asi 3 ned. na Malé pevnosti a tam prý zastřelen. O tatínkovi máme positivní zprávu, jelikož byl pohromadě s Hančiným mládencem, který se vrátil. Také Jirka se vrátil a bydlíme teď s ním pohromadě. S Hankou jsem se sešla šťastnou náhodou v Praze byla zde již o měsíc dřív než já a nevěřila ani v můj návrat. Jistě si dovedete představit teď náš život. Naše finanční situace je ubohá, také s oblečením jsme na tom špatně.
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Půjdu asi někam do kanceláře, Hanka dělá v září maturitu a pak se bude živit pravděpodobně kreslením. Je to asi stručně vše, co jsme Vám o svém osudu chtěly povědět, co bude dál nevíme. S Maruškou jsme ve spojení. Její Janička je skutečně roztomilá. Několikrát jsme u nich již byly. Prosíme Vás, abyste nám pokud možno brzy odpověděli a sdělili, zda sem přijedete. Moc rády bychom Vás již viděly, máme si toho moc co vyprávět. Ani nevíte jak nám je. Jsme šťastny, že alespoň Vy přijedete.

References

  • Updated 2 years ago
The Czech lands (Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia) were part of the Habsburg monarchy until the First World War, and of the Czechoslovak Republic between 1918 and 1938. Following the Munich Agreement in September 1938, the territories along the German and Austrian frontier were annexed by Germany (and a small part of Silesia by Poland). Most of these areas were reorganized as the Reichsgau Sudetenland, while areas in the West and South were attached to neighboring German Gaue. After these terr...
This collection originated as a documentation of the persecution and genocide of Jews in the Czech lands excluding the archival materials relating to the history of the Terezín ghetto, which forms a separate collection. The content of the collection comprises originals, copies and transcripts of official documents and personal estates, as well as prints, newspaper clippings, maps, memoirs and a small amount of non-written material. The Documents of Persecution collection is a source of informati...