“It wasn’t until three four months later during the summer holidays that we came home. It was all up to just me and my mother. It was dreadful. You can’t imagine the atrocities that war causes. The first floor was covered with a layer of horse manure with infectious bandages and other bloody material scattered about. Mother and I lobbed it out of the window with pitchforks and burned it. Even the trees were cut down. We found three dead Germans there. We buried them in the ground. I got scabies. I was all full of sores. We managed it through the whole of summer. The loft was full of weapons. The children would go try shooting from them. It’s a good thing nothing happened to us.”
“On 15 March 1939 we stood around the radio, Mum, Dad, and I. That was before I was supposed to go to school. Back then I was attending the first year. The radio announced that the German army was just entering our territory, that we were being occupied by the German Reich. I was little and I remember how my parents were completely devastated, taking in the shock. Mum told me: ‘Evička, go to Daddy, give him a kiss, give him a stroke.’ But I didn’t, I didn’t want to. Dad said: ‘Leave her be, take her to school so that no one hurts her.’ Like because I was a Jew. Because without Mum’s knowing it, Dad had entered me into the Jewish register. He didn’t have the right to do that. Mum should have made that decision with him. She wouldn’t have wanted that. She would have wanted me to be without denomination.”
“In September 1941 there came the decree that all Jews must wear the Star of David. That was terrible for me, I was ashamed that all the children would stare at me. I didn’t spend time with anyone anyway, I just played in the garden, and later I didn’t go out at all. I had to wear the star even in the garden because Mum was afraid that someone would tell on us. They’d drag us off to a concentration camp and that would be it.”
“There were these shutters there, these window blinds, so that you couldn’t see inside, as if they were empty rooms. Well, and I read and read and read. I didn’t know how to do much back then, but I liked reading and I liked writing. And then I also liked sewing. So I reckoned I had to do something to earn my keep by my own effort. The Lang children brought me all sorts of books and magazines at night. So I found in some women’s magazines how to sew animals and dolls, and I learnt it. I usually got three eggs for one doll. Sometimes I got half a loaf of bread, or something of the sort. I sewed a lot of dolls. Small, big, fat, thin, blonde. I also made a pram. I kept doing things like that.”
My mother would put water and poison on the table for me. If the Gestapo arrested her, I was to quickly kill myself.
Eva Dobšíková née Zweigenthalová, was born in 1932 in the village of Vranovice, near Brno. Her mother Anna worked as a teacher and her father Arnošt Zweigenthal was a general practitioner, and of Jewish descent. On the day Czechoslovakia was occupied by Nazi Germany, March 15, 1939, her father shot himself for fear of what the future might bring. Eva and her mother moved out of out of their home shortly before Christmas 1941. They found asylum with a postmaster in Vranovice, who took them into his home. Eva’s mother decided to protect her child from the violent landscape of the time, so she kept Eva hidden in the house for three years and four months. When the war was over, Eva found it difficult to assimilate back into society. She managed to overcome her social anxiety, and graduated from grammar school, completed university studies in agriculture and several external courses in various fields of social sciences. She started a family, wrote news reports, articles, and translations. In 2009 she self-published a book of her memoirs titled Naše doba a my v ní (Our Times and Our Lives Within Them). Eva died in December 2015.