I cried into the pillow at night and I comforted the younger children during the day
Irena Hešová was born on 3rd November 1926 in southern Slovakia, in the town of Gúta near Komárno, to Czech parents - Jan Heš and Kateřina Hešová. Her father was a police officer and her mother a housewife. They built a house in Bystřice u Benešova and moved there when Irena was three years old. In the summer of 1942 her parents were arrested by the Gestapo for cooperating with the partisans who assassinated the Reichsprotektor Heydrich on 27th May 1942. The Nazis took sixteen year old Irena Hešová and 45 other children into an improvised secret orphanage in Jenerálka, Prague 6. In 1944 the Germans moved them to a camp in Svatobořice. The children saw the end of the war in the camp of Plané nad Lužicí where the Germans had evacuated them as the liberation front kept getting closer. Irena’s parents were executed in October 1942 in Mauthausen. After the war she stayed with her aunt and uncle, the Kotrba family, in Bystřice. She finished her education and settled in Prague.