“So we found ourselves in this one village, which was called Brezová pod Bradlom. A little village, but I can now say, when I came back there after some time, it’s not a little village any more, but a very pretty little town. And now back to 1944. One family really helped us, they let us live with them. Mum was there as a servant, and my sister also worked as a servant in some other family. We stayed there until the liberation in 1945.”
“What I wanted to say is that there was a Jewish religious community in Prague. Twice a year, for Pesach and the New Year, there was always a programme there, but I didn’t feel good there. When I came there and there was the programme, I just didn’t feel good. I didn’t have a dad, I didn’t have a mum who’d be a doctor - which most people did. Even my friends had a father who was some kind of engineer or doctor, but my mum worked [an ordinary job - trans.]. One time, before one feast, they phoned me in my home. One lady from the Jewish religious community phoned me to say she’d found - I don’t know where exactly - that I was studying at the conservatoire, and she asked if I could perform on the programme for them. I didn’t want to at first, of course, but she begged me so hard that I agreed in the end. When it was over and people were chatting, we were sitting at a table when suddenly they recognised that I had played and performed there. Before, as I said, Mum was no doctor and didn’t have any degrees, but as one of the performers, I suddenly meant something. But I don’t like that kind of thing.”
“In 1942 they took my dad to Majdanek, in Poland, and unfortunately, he never returned. He died there. My grandfather, Mum’s father, was the same. We - Mum, my sister, and I - were taken by the Guardists to Sereď. That was a labour camp in Slovakia, where we spent two and a half years. Mum worked there, she sewed on a sewing machine, and my sister helped fold the things that Mum and the other seamstresses made.”
Miriam Kama was born on 4 June 1938 in Bytča, north-western Slovakia, with the name of Božena Langová. She comes from a Jewish family, her parents had a printing shop and stationery in Bytča. In 1942 her father was deported to the concentration camp in Majdanek, where he died. Miriam and her mother and older sister Lydia were interned in the labour camp in Sereď. They left the town in late August 1944, during the Slovak National Uprising, after which they hid in Nitra and Brezová pod Bradlom until the liberation. After the war they briefly returned to Bytča, before moving to Žilina. The witness spent some time with her aunt in Šumperk. In 1950 Miriam successfully applied to the Prague Conservatoire, where she studied the piano. In 1953 her sister Lydia Sternová was sentenced to two years of prison for organising illegal border crossings. Miriam taught music in Prague, where she lived until the end of 1964, when she and her mother emigrated to Israel. In Israel she worked as a music teacher and got married. In the 1970s she and her husband Pavel Kama spent five years working in Barbados. She is active in the expatriate association of Czechoslovaks in Israel (Hitachdut joc’ej Cechoslovakia), since 1990 she has functioned as chairlady of the Haifa branch of the association. Miriam Kama lives in Haifa.