Performing in Fireflies had a lifelong impact on me
Jana Urbanová, née Klačerová, was born on 10 November 1937 in Teplice into a mixed Czech-Jewish family. Her father MUDr. Josef Klačer (1904-1973) came from a Jewish family and had a doctor’s practice in Osek near Duchcov, where the family lived. When the Sudetes were annexed, the family left Osek and moved to Mníšek pod Brdy in autumn 1938, where her father continued his practice. Some two years later he was briefly arrested, and the whole family was forced to move to Prague. Her father started working in the Treuhandstelle department of the Jewish Community, before taking up employment at the Jewish hospital in Lublaňská Street, where he worked as a doctor. In November 1944 Josef Klačer and his seven-year-old daughter received a summons to a transport to Terezín; they left Prague on 11 February 1945. Fearing deportation, the witness’s mother and younger brother Ivan (1939) hid outside of Prague until the end of the war. In the Terezín ghetto young Jana starred in the role of Beruška (Ladybird) in the children’s play Broučci (Fireflies; according to the famous Czech book by Jan Karafiát), which was performed in Terezín during the propaganda-controlled visit of representatives of the Red Cross. Terezín was liberated in May 1945, but Josef Klačer stayed in the ghetto for several more months to help with the typhus epidemic. His daughter Jana was sent for a brief stay in Štiřín, where Přemysl Pitter established a sanatorium for children from concentration camps. In summer 1945 the Klačer family returned to Osek, where Josef Klačer worked as a doctor; he also took an active part in the local culture scene, he led Osek’s amateur theatre group for many years. Jana Urbanová graduated from the Faculty of Education in Pilsen and worked as a teacher. She later completed a correspondence course in directing at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, she was employed at the Regional Cultural Centre in Ústí nad Labem and later at the theatre in Teplice. In her free time she devoted herself to theatre, which is her lifelong hobby. She lives in Krupka near Teplice, where she still leads the local amateur theatre group.