Ing., Arch. Kateřina Adámková

* 1948

  • "Father couldn't make money during the war for racial reasons, so my mom was forced to look for work. Eventually, her parents thought she could have a stationery store selling postcards, envelopes, and so on. At first, because of that, she had to get an apprenticeship certificate that someone had written her. Later, a municipal official came to see them. Our parents’ living situation was very bad at the time, and based on that, he decided that the store could not be there. In the end, he advised my mother to start a wholesale business, and she did. My father and a lot of other people started helping her. One of the reasons was the fact that my mother sent packages to people in concentration camps. She had to get food, she had to get a stamp to send it, she had to pack it and take it to the post office. It was exhausting, so she was quite ill after the war. At the time when the Jewish stars began to be worn on the lapels, my father could not go out, so he only worked at home. At that time, a lot of acquaintances also came to work with us, and my mother ran the company until the year 1950, when it was nationalized."

  • "People talked about how amazing it is and what beautiful and healthy apartments will be there. When I saw them tear down such beauty that no one would build today anymore, it made me angry. I knew it wasn’t true that low-quality flats were being demolished. Quality flats were being demolished and monstrosities were built in return. At first I thought my bosses didn't know. To this day, it is not clear to me if they knew. However, they were completely indifferent to the fact. For them, it was about satisfying the party committee and doing what they wanted."

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    Praha, 07.10.2020

    duration: 01:21:02
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Do you think a three-year-old would understand what it means to say that Karel received an injection in the heart?

Period portrait of Kateřina Adámková from 1963
Period portrait of Kateřina Adámková from 1963
photo: Witness' archive

Kateřina Adámková, born Pokorná, was born on March 10 1948 to her parents Alfréd and Ludmila in Prague. All the relatives of her father, who, like them, were of Jewish descent, perished in concentration camps during the war. However, he managed to survive the war, and for some time he was protected from deportations by the alliance with his “Aryan” wife. However, eventually, he also ended up in the Terezín ghetto in 1945, from where he escaped just before liberation. Kateřina grew up with her twelve-year-older brother Karel in a household affected by the onset of communist totalitarianism, which took away her mother’s business and prevented her father from taking up the profession he practiced before the war for several years. Following her childhood in Letná, she joined the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in the relaxed atmosphere of the early 1960s. She finished her studies with the beginning of normalization and immediately started working at the State Institute for the Reconstruction of Historic Towns and Buildings. Here, together with other colleagues, she took part in the redevelopment of Žižkov, which began in 1978. After the Velvet Revolution, she ran her own business in the field of architecture and project design.