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Eliška Homolková (1926) - Biography

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You don’t choose were you’re born

Eliška Homolková was born on 21 February 1926 into a Czech-Jewish family in Prague. She lived with her parents and older brother in Rakovník, where her father had a business selling construction materials. The family was respected in the town, but Eliška's carefree life experienced was disrupted by the increasing oppression post-1939, when the first bans and decrees affecting Jews came into force. Her mother had to sew yellow stars on to the coats of her son and daughter. They were not allowed to travel by train. They were forbidden from leaving Rakovník without permission. They were not allowed to talk with anyone, not even their best friends. In 1942, when Eliška was fifteen, the family received a deportation summons. The family was taken to Terezín and split up. Eliška stayed with her mother. She did farm labour while in the ghetto and herded cattle from the razed villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Her memories of the ghetto paint a picture of ever-present death, filth, hunger, fear of deportation, and extreme degradation. She and her mother and father survived the war in Terezín. Her brother was deported to Auschwitz but came home alive. When they returned to Rakovník, they found their home stripped bare bar for a few pieces of furniture. But as Eliška Homolková remembers, the most precious thing for them was that they all came home again. Other Jewish families in Rakovník were much less fortunate...

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