Helena Valíková

* 1931

  • "Edvard Beneš used to visit these Benešes. They always drove and honked. It was what they called the castle guard. And they drove this car and honked. And everybody on that road was always going sideways. And so they passed that, and they went to the Benešes." - "And did you see President Beneš?" - "I saw him, for sure. I remember there was this little grove. That's where we used to watch it from as kids, straight from school. 'Beneš is coming!' So we watched it. In those days, even a car was rare. When a car was coming, they'd honk. 'They're coming!' So we watched it, all amazed."

  • "When she came back and was at the Vinohrady hospital, we used to go to see her. Not only me, there were more of us. Our moms and dads were there. I remember that she was so... I would watch her lying in that bed. I was like, 'Is that my mom? I guess so.' I didn't remember her at all."

  • "I remember the time when my mother was taken away. They told me she was going somewhere... They made me believe she was going on some kind of vacation or something. I remember I didn't know what a vacation was. But in reality, my mother was in Terezín."

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 17.07.2023

    duration: 01:11:37
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I was lucky my dad was an Aryan

Helena Valíková
Helena Valíková
photo: Post Bellum

Helena Valíková, née Vaňačová, was born on February 5, 1931 in Kardašova Řečice, southern Bohemia, into a Czech-Jewish family. Her mother Růžena Ráblová was Jewish, the daughter of a kosher butcher from Třeboň who was killed in the First World War. Her father František Vaňač, born in Vodňany, was trained as a carpenter. A few years after the birth of his daughter he moved with his family to Horní Počernice in Prague. There, the contemporary witness often saw President Edvard Beneš as he visited his brother on his farm in the neighboring village of Svépravice. When the war came, she suddenly ended up all alone - her father, who refused to divorce his Jewish wife, was interned in the concentration camp in Bystřice in the Benešov region, and her mother and grandmother were transported to Terezín. However, her father’s family was determined to take care of little Helena. Until the end of the war, her aunt Anna Vaňačová hid her in her Prague apartment together with two other children from a mixed marriage. After the war, the witness returned home and was reunited with her parents. She graduated from a business academy and made a living as a secretary all her life. Now she lives in a care home in Prague.