Hana Fousová

* 1934

  • "They were leaving, they didn't have stars, I didn't know until after the war, and in the passenger cars. It was a passenger train. And now they haven't come back, and I was wondering, because I thought, if thousands of people were being sent in cattle, why would they do such a shed with those kids? But when the kids got there, no one was allowed on the street, the windows had to be closed. And I read that because I kept looking around, looking for literature to see if there was anything. And someone said it was the worst moment he'd ever been to Terezin. When those kids came from the station, it's when 1500 kids... You can't imagine it. Those kids were so scared. They were dirty, they were torn up, they were wearing clothes, and they built them some kind of barracks behind Terezin, and they accommodated them there outside Terezin. That's where they were lice, fattened up, and the kids got there in August, and then mom, the transport went on October 5th. So they've been putting them back together for over two months. So it kept in my head why they'd do a shed like this with it. And then, long after that, someone from Auschwitz told me again, some man was telling memories and saying that the worst sight he could remember when those kids went into that gas chamber. Everyone had a roll in their hand and there was a basket outside that door and they had to throw the roll in the trash and then they went. But when they came to Terezin, the children, and they wanted to wash them, the children were said to be screaming, 'Gaz, gaz!' They already knew about the gas chambers. It was not known in Terezin yet."

  • "I broke my knee the other day, we were kind of chasing the kids around, and my mom told us to stop running. So we were running, and then I broke my knee, so she called me out again. And then I had scabs on it, and when we were together that last night, she kept kissing my knees, those scabs, so I wouldn't be mad at her for being like that to me. And I know I kept saying, 'Leave me alone, I want to sleep.' Or no, I didn’t say leave me alone, but I want to sleep because she was crying and kissing me all the time and I was like, 'I want to sleep, I want to sleep.' But they left at five o'clock, so we went early in the morning. No one was allowed at the station, except for me and then another, the daughter of one of my mother's friends, who was ten years older than me, so she was 18 at the time. So we went there together, and then I went to her house with her. And then somehow I was out and the kids were coming home from school, and I felt so important that I didn't have to be in school. I was proud of it. I didn't get it at all."

  • "In 1942, my mother had to go to Terezin. It was so chaotic because there were more Jewish residents in Mestec, including the children I was playing with. Because they weren't allowed to go to school, someone secretly taught them in a closed store. So I went there to study with them, too. And then all the Jews got summoned to transport, that was after Heydrich, after the assassination. And my mom wasn’t called there because I was little, I was eight, so they said I was protecting her. That was Wednesday, June 10, and on Sunday, mom got a telegram to come with the others. From the letter she wrote to her brother, she's just saying that she called cologne, what does that mean, she shouldn't have gone, and they said, 'Come, this is where it's going to be explained.' So she went with everyone else, but now she had nowhere to leave me. I didn't have siblings, but we didn't have anyone. My mother had a girlfriend that I called aunt, and I loved her so much, I'd be there right away, from the minute. But her husband was a lawyer, he had a law firm, and they said they couldn't marry me, that maybe he'd have to close the office, so I can't be with them. So I remained unprincipled as such. So I slept at this aunt's for 14 days so I could finish school, I went to second grade. Then came my uncle, who I had never seen before, and that was my mother's sister's husband, or brother-in-law. But the nurse had already died a year before. I've never seen him before. And then he picked me up and drove me to his, I don't know if it was my parents or my mother, I don't know where it was, what the village was called. I've never seen these people before, so he drove me there at the end of June."

  • "All right, I started flying. But then, after about two years, they suddenly picked me up. Straight away, I remember that like I did today when I flew in from Moscow. Now they picked me up and took me to Bartholomew.' And now they started on me as psychologically, that I wanted to go to study and that I didn't go and that maybe I could. And I said, 'Well, I don't want to anymore.' Well, as a result, they'd need some information about what the flying staff were doing. I said, 'I've only been flying for about four months, I don't know them.' And they said, 'Well, that's how you know them.' Well, then when they saw they weren't going to move me, they got me to sign a card so I wouldn't talk about it, that I was there what they wanted and all. So I signed it."

  • "Then she didn't come back after the war. There was always someone ringing the bell, now they were walking... different relatives were coming back. And I always said, 'That's Mom!' And I flew down that gallery to open the door. And then... I realized that later, no one said anything to me, but they looked at each other so strangely. So I slowly stopped saying it, it went to the lost, and my mother just didn't come back."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 28.02.2019

    duration: 01:24:14
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Praha, 10.09.2020

    duration: 01:43:27
    media recorded in project Memory of the Nation: stories from Praha 2
  • 3

    Praha, 09.10.2020

    duration: 01:40:50
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Those stars were beautiful

Hana Fousová, nee Reinvald, as a child
Hana Fousová, nee Reinvald, as a child
photo: archív pamětnice

Hana Fousová, born Reinvaldová, was born on March 28, 1934 in Hradec Králové. Until the age of eight, she grew up in Mestec Králové, a small town near Podebrady. Her father Josef Reinvald was a doctor with his own practice, but in 1940 he died suddenly and Hana’s as an only child remained with her mother. Her mother, Amelia, came from a Jewish family. In June 1942, she and other relatives went to the Terezín ghetto, where she was later chosen as the guardian of children who had been transferred to Terezin from the Polish ghetto Bialystok. From there, they were supposed to be sent to one of the neutral countries in exchange for captured German officers. However, more than 1,000 children and their fifty-three guardians were transported to the extermination camp in Auschwitz after two months in Terezin, where they were all murdered. The orphaned Hana was taken over by husband and wife Izra and Karel Budín from Prague. Izra Budinsky was also of Jewish origin, she was the sister of Hana’s grandmother, and her husband Karel Budinsky refused to divorce during the war and saved her from transport. He himself was forced to spend the last year of the war in an internment camp in Bystřice near Benešov. Hana remembers the struggles of the Prague Uprising. Of her entire family, 42 of her relatives did not survive their stay in concentration camps. After the war, Hana went to Sweden for a recovery stay for orphans and then to France, graduated from grammar school and after graduation began working at Czechoslovak Airlines as a stewardess. At the same time, she was first contacted by State Security, and after a long interrogation, Hana signed cooperation with them. A few days later, however, she refused, and although she was no longer allowed to work as a flight attendant, she insisted on her decision. Less than a year after her placement of cooperators, she was removed from the list of active collaborators. Until her retirement, she continued to work for Czechoslovak Airlines, but only in the background of the airport. She lives in Prague, she’s a widow. She raised two sons with her husband who was a medical doctor.