When we returned from holidays, my uncle, my grandmother and the Gestapo were waiting at the train station for us
Eva Merclová, née Hejlová, was born on 6 July, 1931, in the family of František Hejl and Milada Hejlová in Strašnice in Prague, where she also attended school. Her father was the leader of a Scout district called Barak. Here he met his future wife and the mother of Mrs. Merclová and her sister Hanka. The Scouts formed the Jindra resistance group in the very beginning of the Nazi occupation as they rightly expected the occupiers to dismantle their organization. In 1939, the Nazis arrested the leaders of the Scout and the Jindra group was helping the families of those who had been arrested. The group also supported the paratroopers who assassinated Heydrich. On 14 July, 1942, the Gestapo arrested the parents of Mrs. Merclová and the children Eva and Hanka remained alone in the garden in front of the sealed apartment. The children were eventually adopted by family friends from Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou who took care of them for the rest of the holidays. But when the children were returning back to their grandmother in late August, they were arrested at the Denisovo nádraží train station and taken to the Gestapo at Jenerálka. The children remained there until April 1944, when they were moved to Svatobořice in Moravia, near Kyjov. The Svatobořice camp had been set up as a hostage camp for the relatives of those soldiers who joined foreign armies, or other important personalities. When the Red Army was approaching Hodonín in April 1945, the Germans released about half of the prisoners and the rest, including the children, was transported to the former labor camp in Planá nad Lužnicí. With the Red Army approaching, the threat of riots materialized and so the adults organized the transfer of the children to the nearby Turovec where they stayed at a local inn till 12 May, when they returned back home. Back at home, their grandmother took care of them, trying to replace their parents, who had been executed in Mauthausen, as good as she could. Mrs. Merclová’s mother was executed on 24 October, 1942, and her father on 26 January, 1943. Eva Hejlová graduated from the Business Academy in Resslova Street (former Edvard Beneš Czechoslovak Academy of Business) and married one year after graduation. In 1957, she gave birth to a son. Mrs. Merclová is an active member of the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters. In 1998, she got involved in the work of a local office of the Union. She’s been working as an accountant and an economist for the Union and the work has keept her happy throughout the long years of her commitment.