Hana Pavlů

* 1921  †︎ 2013

  • "On the November 25th I was standing on the top deck. There was the ambulance on one side and the inpatient hospital on the other side. There were some kids in ambulance when we heard...The ship turned on its side very fast. I was just holding one child so I quickly handed him to someone who was climbing up. The ship turned almost upside down and now the upper deck was down and the bottom up. I let myself slide down to the hospital by using the inclined deck, where my former big love lied at that time. I managed to pulled him up and although he was unconscious I swam with him to the pier. But I remember other people screaming as they were falling off the stairs when the ship turned sideways. This one experience is still my nightmare. It’s a fear that will never fade away."

  • "I was standing there alone at the train station not knowing where to go or what to do. We didn’t have any money or anything , just this Kit pack. That was the army sack with the uniform in it, but nothing else. As I was standing there some soldier or officer came to me and said : ´ What’s up with you? ´ And I told him: ´ I don’t know where to go. ´ So he said: ´ Let’s go to the repatriation station. ´"

  • "A lot of people died there. There was a jaundice epidemic. There also was the sand fly fever, which is a disease carried by sand flies. The sick person suffers very high fever and is practically unconscious. It takes about two or three days and then it gets better again. The danger of this disease is that people often have suicidal tendency. They think they can’t live through it so they tried to kill themselves. So that’s what sand fly fever is."

  • "The line up was strictly every morning at 6 am. Then the daily order have been announced and individual units learnt their assignments. Then the people got on the trucks which took them to several halls, where the repair stations were and where they worked. Men and women worked there together like in a factory. They used the Arabs for the dirty work. We always returned back in the evening. It was very tough and hard to work in such hot weather."

  • "On this boat people must kept running back and forth to level the boat during the heavy waves so the boat wouldn’t turn upside down. There must have been space for them to run here and there while the other people slept. They lied in the sleeping bags squashed like sardines, because if someone turned around the people sleeping next to him turned automatically with him."

  • "During the winter, the night temperature got sometime as low as 10 degrees above zero, which was really cold. But that was only during the winter time. During the summer the temperatures remained very hot. The nights were hot too, because the sand was so warmed up from the day sunlight. I remember our shoes being burned out from the heat, we needed new shoes frequently."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 17.02.2003

    duration: 01:43:37
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We were so proud to wear Czechoslovakia’s badge on our shoulders

Mrs. Hana Pavlů was born in a German - Jewish family in Hostinne, in the Sudetenland. She attended textile clothing school in Liberec  and later Brno. Sadly, her entire family save for herself and her sister died in concentration camps during the war. In 1940 she and her sister joined the illegal transport to Palestine to avoid certain death. They experienced awful trip on Milos, a cargo ship from the Romanian port of Tolcea to Haifa. She then boarded the Patria carrying 270 Jewish refugees that sank in Haifa on November 25th 1940. She miraculously survived and was transported to the internment camp in Atlithu. She entered the Czechoslovak army troops in 1942 in the Middle East, where she underwent military training by the British in Sarafand. During the years from 1943 to 1946 she acted as a member of the ATS batallion (Auxiliary Territorial Service) operating in camp Tel-El-Kebir in Egyptian desert. After she returned to Czechoslovakia in March of 1946, she was placed into one of the repatriation camps to reassimilate with displaced Czechs. Later on she lived in Prague between friends’ apartments. She suffered seriously through this ordeal from nervous system illness. She spent the rest of her professional life working in the Pharmaceutical Research Institute, until her death in 2013.