Edna Beck

* 1926

  • “I didn’t do anything, because we expected they would save us. That is how it was. Then the Americans came. There was nothing to do. I don’t know how I ended up in Prostějov. I don’t remember, but it was very difficult. We would sit by the radio and listen to hear who still lived. ‘Maybe someone from my family is still alive?’ Unfortunately, my parents - I knew about them - but others as well, old gramps and grannies, uncles, all gone. [Q: Not even someone from the Kroměříž branch of the family?] Only my grandma from Kroměříž. I wouldn’t want to have been in her shoes.”

  • “Then it was spectacular. As I said, my uncle was already in the country [Palestine], with his daughter as well. He found me a man from the British army who could marry a woman. He already had a wife in the country [Palestine], but no one knew that. I didn’t know him, but the wedding took place. I didn’t know him, so we travelled to Pilsen to conduct the ceremony. He arrived with one other man, with a sign: We’re looking for Mrs so and so. Everyone knew it. But it was spectacular because I could arrive legally. Then we had to divorce, it was all just pretend - they knew about it in Bohemia as well.”

  • “I was in Auschwitz for about ten days, but I think that was quite enough. They sent me to work in Freiberg, where they made aeroplane parts. I had this kind of a gadget. [Q: Did you work on a machine?] Yes. The man who supervised me and explained things to me was quite good. It was hard work, very hard work. There were two factories, one was called Freya and the other... I’ve forgotten the name.”

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    Haifa, Izrael, 23.03.2017

    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Ten days in Auschwitz was enough

Edna Beck
Edna Beck
photo: Prostějovský deník, foto Pavel Moš

Edna Beck, née Hana Lampelová, was born on 16 June 1926 in Prostějov into a Jewish family. She was the younger of two daughters, her father worked as the chief clerk of a bank, and her mother was a housewife. Both his parents sympathised with the Zionist movement; the witness became a member of Thelet Lavan. The family endeavoured to emigrate to Palestine, but only the older daughter succeeded to move before the war broke out. The witness and her parents were deported to the ghetto in Terezín on 8 July 1942. After two years in Terezín they were placed in a transport to Auschwitz on 4 October 1944. Her mother died there; after ten days, Edna Beck was sent to the Freiberg labour camp, where she worked at a factory making aircraft components. Before the end of the war she was deported to Camp Mauthausen, where she was liberated. After the war she returned to Prostějov, but most of her family had died in concentration camps. In 1945 her uncle, who lived in Palestine, negotiated a fake marriage between her and a British soldier, which allowed her to immigrate to Palestine, where she arrived in 1946. She married in 1949 and raised two children with her husband. She worked as a nurse at a dentist’s practice, later as a waitress, and after starting a family she stayed at home for personal and health reasons. Edna Beck is a widow, she lives in an elderly care home in Haifa.