When someone had just a spark of talent at an English school, the teachers helped him stir it up
RNDr. Ruth Hálová, née Adlerová, was born on the 26th of February, 1926, into a Jewish family in Český Krumlov. Her mother, Zdeňka, was of Czech-Jewish lineage, her father, Leopold, came from a German-speaking Jewish family. Ruth had one older sister, Eva, and the year she was born, their father died. Ruth attended a German primary school for five years, she then moved on to a German grammar school. In 1938, she was bullied at the grammar school because of her Jewish origin, so the family moved to Protivín and then to Prague. Soon, her mother realised the danger her daughters were in, and she tried to get them sent abroad. She heard about Nicholas Winton’s efforts, and she succeeded in getting both her daughters a seat in one of the “Winton trains.” Thirteen-year-old Ruth left from Masaryk Station in Prague on the 29th of June, 1939, while her sister, Eva, left to London from Wilson (now Main) Station in Prague on August the 2nd of that same year. Ruth was taken in by the Jones family in Shirley near Birmingham. In 1940, she began attending primary school, and she helped her adoptive parents in their newsagent’s shop. She then joined Rugby School near Coventry, where she lived with the Cleavers and later the Boags. Ruth Hálová completed secondary school and obtained an Oxford School Certificate. From 1943 she was employed in the pharmaceutical department in Rugby, but her adoptive parents requested she continue her studies. By recommendation of the Czechoslovak Exile Ministry of Education and Social Affairs, she was awarded a place in a Czechoslovak school in Wales, where she passed her matriculation exam in April 1945. Her sister Eva worked as a nurse at Woodland Hospital. On the 24th of September, 1945, the witness returned to Czechoslovakia. Her mother had survived the war in Terezín by marrying her cousin, Arnošt, which helped her avoid being transported East. After the War, Ruth Hálová undertook studies of microbiology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences in Prague, and graduated in 1952. She worked in the diagnostic laboratory at Motol Hospital in Prague, and later at the sanatoriums in Carlsbad and Ústí nad Labem. Ruth Hálová eventually moved to southern Bohemia, and now lives in Holubov near Český Krumlov.