Brigita Bakovská

* 1929  

  • “In the place where we worked there was a lavatory. It was not a pit toilet, and men and women were separated on each side. Italians and French worked on the other side. They were prisoners, too. I and one more girl wanted to take a look at those guys. We thus climbed up on the planks and the guys threw over chocolates for us. They could speak German a little and they told us: ‘Kommen Sie wieder,’ come again. They were throwing us chocolates this way. As an idiot, one time I somehow miscalculated and I fell over on the other side to the guys. But the guys were quick and they shouted at the girls ‘Achtung!’ and they tossed me back. I nearly fell into the lavatory just for a piece of chocolate!”

  • “I have passed the selection process thanks to one beautiful girl. I suffered from swollen legs due to avitaminosis, and my legs were so swollen they looked like bottles. For the first time I didn’t pass. This friend pulled me there again: ‘Come, let’s go one more time!’ How she did it... she somehow pushed her legs in between my legs and he (Mengele – ed.’s note) was not paying attention and he did not notice and therefore I got to the right side.”

  • “I was only allowed to write thirty words. It was just before the September transport (from the family camp BIIb – ed.’s note) went to gas chambers. The bastards even calculated it so that the postcards would arrive when these people had already been gassed. They gave us cards with space for thirty words; it had to be written legibly and in German. It was the only time that we were allowed to write. The cards apparently arrived because I addressed it to my cousin in Prague and she then sent some packages to us.”

  • Full recordings
  • 4

    Bohumín, 17.02.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 01:51:18
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Her only guilt was that she was Jewish

Twelve-year-old Gita before the transport to Terezín, 1941
Twelve-year-old Gita before the transport to Terezín, 1941
photo: Archiv pamětnice

Brigita Bakovská, née Steinová, was born February 17, 1929 in Karlovy Vary. Her father owned a shoe shop and her mother was a housewife. Brigita, nicknamed Gita, had sister Dora who was eight years older. When the Kristallnacht broke out in Karlovy Vary in 1938, their father sent both daughters to Prague and he followed them later. Their mother left the family at that time. Brigita attended school in Prague and her older sister Dora worked for families in Prague in exchange for food and accommodation. The Stein family received an order to board a transport to Terezín in 1941. Brigita was then to leave with a transport for Auschwitz in September 1943, but since she fell ill at that time, she eventually boarded a cattle car train which was dispatched in November of the same year. This has probably saved her life. Her father died in Auschwitz and Brigita decided to apply for work in Hamburg. Due to her swollen feet, she did not pass the selection process for the first time. For the second time Gita managed to pass with help of her friend and she thus got out of Auschwitz. She was injured during the air raids on Hamburg, but she survived. She then had to get from Hamburg to Bergen-Belsen, and she went partly by train and she walked part of the journey there. When she eventually reached the camp together with others, she was completely exhausted. The Germans were already gone, but the situation there was catastrophic. Gita lost her consciousness and she woke up in a hospital bed. Thanks to help of a woman she knew she got on board a train bound for Prague. When she was sixteen years old, her body weight was less than 28 kilograms. When she reached Prague, Brigita decided to fight for her life and with the help of her cousin she was gradually gaining weight and combating tuberculosis. A family of her best girlfriend from Auschwitz eventually accepted her as if she were their own daughter. Due to her lung disease she was unable to have children and she did not manage to complete her studies of medicine, because she had spent too much time bedridden in a sanatorium. Her first husband died of cancer, but with her second husband Emil Pastošek, whom she met on a holiday trip, they have been together for thirty years. Brigita Bakovská published a book of her memories titled ‘Stolen Dreams’ (Ukradené sny) in 2016.