Eva Gerhardová

* 1929

  • "We landed at what is now the Park of Culture, but it was very primitive, they put a board there where you get off. Suddenly I see such a gentleman, whom I have known since childhood, who came to help. He came and gave me his hand so that I could get off that ship safely. And I say, 'Oh Mr. Weiss, don't you know where my father is?' And he looked at me, he absolutely could not recognize me, that: 'Excuse me, who are you?' I say, I'm Eva Haarová. 'Oh! But Mr. Haar is at Mrs. Weiss's.' Are you talking about Vysoká? Yes! And there was one of my brother's... because my brother was a bit of a stepfather, my father was married three times. His cousin was there with me, so I say, 'Grete, come with me, we know where we're going!' So we walked all the way to Vysoká, but that was also an experience, there was shooting in the street. Russian soldiers, I don't know why they were shooting, but they were shooting, it was very unpleasant. Because it was already night, the streets were not lit. She didn't know, I knew how we should go in the dark and then I leaned against the bell, it was about 10 o'clock in the evening and I know that it was my father's birthday, May 25. And then I said to myself, oh my God, they're going to get scared if I ring so much. So I stopped and then I learned that if I hadn't rang the bell four times, that light would never have appeared in the window, that they were so afraid that they were Russians. But by ringing the bell four times, all at once the light came on, the window opened, father in the window: 'Who is that?' 'Apuka it's me!' But now all the lights are on... There were about 20 people living in that apartment who had nowhere to go, and ours took them in. Everyone came downstairs to greet us, and I know dad didn't know the difference between that cousin and me until I opened my mouth, by my voice."

  • "It was right after the uprising, when the Germans actually occupied Slovakia, I would say, and then they woke us up at three in the morning. And it was the SA from Bratislava, or something like that, and they said to my father: 'Haar, I've been waiting for this for 5 years !' He was so happy that he could say it. And that's all dad told us, don't pack anything, get dressed, we won't be there for long, don't worry. So my brother, grandmother and I... It was five lines and on each side an SS man with a rifle, some of them were carrying mattresses and had suitcases on their heads and what do I know, and we had nothing, just hands in pockets and so on. And they led us through Panenská ulica towards a small station somewhere on Karaždičová and we walked and there was one such explosion, like a shot and all the SS men turned in the direction it came from and then a tram came at Suché Mýto and father got into it he jumped with the documents and everything. I saw him jump there, my brother saw him jump. Grandma didn't notice and she didn't want to go any further, she said: where is Maxi, I said in the back, my brother said in front. In Sereď, the grandmother started talking about Maxim again, so I explained to her what happened and I said to her: now you have to be quiet, because something could happen and don't worry, when he is there and has all the documents, he will come for us, don't worry. "

  • "The wagons opened, a wonderful yells began: 'Raus, raus!' Yes? Out. I knew how to jump down, but it was with my grandmother... about three of us helped her, and as soon as she landed on the ground, we were separated. Her there, me there. I saw my brother from another corner somewhere, but I just caught a glimpse of him. And then they led us to the so-called bathrooms, where they stripped us all, took everything from us, put us in men's underwear and said: shower, and someone said: Well, it could be gas. But it was a shower and Dr. Mengele arrived, who I didn't know existed before, and then when there were ladies who looked like they might be pregnant, he immediately tested them to see if they were or not, if they had milk, it was crazy. And then I went to where I left my things and there were no things there. Then they threw men's underpants, t-shirts and clogs at us. But before we went to the showers, they started shaving us, we didn't have a hair anywhere, completely shaved. There was scream. Always a scream, everyone screamed there, yes. And they led us to a barrack, where there were five of us in one, I don't remember anymore, There was only unplaned wood and they put us there to sleep. And then we had a welcome speech. One such old prisoner, I don't know how many years she had been there, told us that we didn't get to the sanatorium, that people are being destroyed here and that if we don't follow the rules, they will shoot us. Well, the next day they stopped and counted us, they kept counting us. And someone pushed me forward, because I was well fed, and one person came, she was a prisoner, she spoke Slovak, and so she asked me where I was from, and how old I was, and what I know, and I told her that I am 15. And her: 'No you're 18 - when they ask you, you're 18.' And that, I think, saved my life."

  • "The school I went to was at... in Živnodome and the first bombing, when it was at Apolka, some bombs went missing and fell on Vysoká. So I was immediately there. And my class teacher... I was going with girls from Malacky, Kúty, and I don't know where, and they brought the teacher eggs and things like that. And she had to go to the shelter with them. And she knew that I wouldn't go to the shelter. She also told me: 'Haarová, you're not afraid? Watch those eggs for me.' So I was in the classroom and the bombs were falling around me."

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    Bratislava, 09.08.2022

    duration: 01:59:57
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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She asked me how old I was and I said 15. And she said that if they ask me, I should say 18. And that, I think, saved my life.

Eva Gerhard during an interview in Bratislava
Eva Gerhard during an interview in Bratislava
photo: Post Bellum SK

Eva Haarová, today Gerhard, was born in February 1929 in a family that owned a hat boutique on Bratislava’s Obchodná Street. She lost her mother when she was 12 years old, which also meant that she started taking care of the business. The first deportations deprived her of several cousins. However, she stayed in Bratislava, where she also experienced the bombing. After the Slovak national Uprising she was deported to a concentration camp together with her brother and grandmother. The father managed to miraculously escape when he jumped into a moving tram. However, the rest of the family traveled through Sereď to Auschwitz, where Eva lost both of her loved ones. Dr. Mengele sent her to work in a factory in Freiberg. She experienced liberation already in Mauthausen, where they were taken before the arrival of the liberators. She came home in May 1945 so emaciated that her father did not recognize her from her cousin. She immediately went back to school. The Aryanized trade was returned to them after the war. She and her husband first thought about emigrating when their talented daughter was not taken to school. When ŠtB asked Eva’s husband for cooperation, they emigrated to Israel, but they were not satisfied, so they moved to America. There, Eva’s daughter studied molecular biology and worked as a distinguished scientist at the US National Cancer Institute.