They greeted us in Russian: Zdravstvujtě! We grasped that we were free.
Evelina Merová was born on Christmas in 1930. The original name of her father was Löwy but he changed it to Landa. Evelina Merová was henceforth generally known to people as Eva Landová. In 1939 - it was by the time she attended the second year of an elementary school called “U Studánky” - she was made to realize her Jewish roots for the first time. It was in connection with the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Her life gradually began to change. Laws discriminating Jews were introduced in the country and Evelina could no longer go to school or play on a playground. The family was moved to a flat where they lived together with three other Jewish families. She personally perceived as her first great loss, when her canary was taken away from her as it was illegal for Jews to possess pets. On June 28, 1942, they had to get on a transport to the Theresienstadt ghetto. In Theresienstadt, she was placed on the so-called Kinderheim L 410, in room Nr. 28. In December 1943, she went straight from hospital (she was recovering from encephalitis) on another transport, this time to Auschwitz. Her transport was one of three, which were special in a way. The Jews from these three transports weren’t subjected to the notorious “selection” that used to take place right at the unloading ramp in Auschwitz. Instead, they were sent directly to the “family camp” B-II-b. The records of the inmates from these transports said that they were to remain in Auschwitz for 6 months and afterwards would receive “SB” or “Sonderbehandlung” (special treatment), which meant that they would be gassed. Evelina’s father died of tuberculosis in Auschwitz. Evelin and her mother passed Mengele’s selection and were sent to forced labor. They wouldn’t come back to Auschwitz. They also had to dig trenches. In November 1944, her mother died of starvation and exhaustion and Evelina was left alone. By the time of her mother’s death, she had no boots and her feet were strongly frostbitten. Therefore, she was supposed to be sent to the gas chamber but after a long and strenuous death march, they found out that the railway station no longer exists and therefore they returned back to the camp. Evelina was tied to the bed and she was running the risk of a feet amputation. By the end of January 1945 the German commanders hurriedly left the camp and they tried to murder the inmates with phenol shots and rifle-butt blows to the head. However, a portion of the inmates survived. The women were found by the soldiers of the advancing Red Army and they were taken to the Soviet field hospitals. They boarded a train which took them to the town of Syzraň in the Kujbyševo district. On that train, Evelina met a Jewish child doctor by the name of Mero, who adopted her. Evelina spent the following part of her life in Leningrad (today’s Saint Petersburg), where she graduated in German studies, married and gave birth to two children. In 1985, her husband died and after she retired in 1995, she finally returned to her former home, something she had yearned for many years. Her son, who emigrated from the Soviet Union, presently lives in Frankfurt am Main and her daughter in Saint Petersburg.