Jitka Růžičková

* 1930  

  • "One morning, I went to school. I said goodbye to my mummy, as usually. I returned from school. I came home. Mr. Bašta who owned a shoe business in the house ran out and told me that mum was taken away by the Gestapo. I went home and found our lodger there. She said they went through all of our things and took mummy with them. I then learned that she was imprisoned at Karlovo náměstí, in the black tower. Once, she managed to smuggle out an inscription on a piece of cloth: a trial in six weeks and then perhaps soon back home."

  • "I don't know because I never found out whether the arrest was a consequence of her not paying a fine, not having Jewish papers or not wearing the Star of David. I don't know. I simply went to school and said goodbye. Then I came back home and mummy was no longer there. I had never seen her since. I was completely lost. I sat in a park with my classmates from school. I was crying there, saying my mummy was not home and that I had nobody to go to. One of my classmate's mum was passing by, walking their dog. Her daughter told her I had nowhere to go, that my mum was arrested by the Gestapo. She said I'd go to their place and we'd see. So, she brought me to theirs. They gave me dinner and a place to sleep. So I stayed with them. I felt good there. I stayed there up until the end of the war."

  • "I waited by each and every train at the railway station in Vršovice. Trains with prisoners were arriving there from all around the place. I would go there every day to wait. As people were getting out, I stood there with a picture of my mum and asked people if they hadn't seen her. Nobody ever did. In the Repatriation Office in Hybernská street, I put up a picture of my grandma and my mummy, and a request so that anyone who'd known them or knew about them would let me know. Nobody ever did."

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    Praha, 15.12.2017

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Mummy was taken away by the Gestapo and I went to cry in the park

Jitka Růžičková, 2017
Jitka Růžičková, 2017
photo: autoři natáčení

Jitka Růžičková was born on 25 October 1930 in Prague. Following her parent’s divorce, she grew up with her mother and grandparents. Her grandfather Vilém Lustig was a respected citizen of Prague’s Vršovice quarter. He was a deputy in the local government and owned a factory producing waxed paper. Only after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia had Jitka found out the family was of Jewish origin. Her grandfather lost his seat in the local council and died soon thereafter. Her mother, grandma and uncle were all transported to concentration camps. As she was under fifteen years of age and only half Jewish, Jitka evaded the same fate. Her classmate’s parents took care of her up until the end of the war. Her father did not show much interest. After the war, she hoped for her mother’s return, but in vain. She studied at a medical school and worked as a nurse. She was married three times and gave birth to a son and a daughter. Only her granddaughter had found out about the fate of her relatives in the course of WW II. It turned out that Jitka’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother died in Auschwitz and her uncle in Buchenwald. She died on July 2, 2019.