Marianne Singer with her brother Jan Neumann

  • Photo taken in:
    Year when photo was taken:
    Country name at time of photo:
    Czechoslovakia, 1918-1938
    Country name today:
    Czech Republic
    Name of the photographer / studio:

This photo shows my brother Jan Neumann and me in the year 1930. The photograph was taken my Mr. Steiner in Jihlava.

I was born on 13th February 1924, in Jihlava. My childhood memories are varied. For example, when our villa in Jihlava was being built - I was about five then - my father always took me along with him to the construction site and would show me what would be where. I also remember the birth of my brother Jan. I was four years old, and was playing in the garden in Hlinsko. My aunt called me and said, 'Marianka, you've got a brother.' We would go on various outings with our nanny. In the summer we would make campfires. We would roast bacon and potatoes. 

My only sibling was my brother Jan. He was born on 6th July 1928 in Jihlava. He always brought over friends that would annoy me. When we were in Hlinsko and I would go out on a date, he had to come with me. Mother told him that he had to be with Marianna. To get rid of him, we would buy him an ice-cream cone and tell him to get lost.

My brother attended the Czech Masaryk School, a little way away from our villa. The school building stands to this day. Jan was very clever. In Terezin, for example, when someone's shoe needed repair, he would find a piece of rubber tire and make soles from it. Or he made a bed. Simply a very clever boy. He had many friends who would come over to play. He also liked to play hockey. Once - this was in Hlinsko - he got hit on the eyebrow with a puck, and had a scar there that never healed properly. In Terezin, his dexterity and cleverness made him a favorite of the chief of the generating station, Bobek. He took Jan on as his gardener on the condition that while at his place he could eat anything he wanted, but couldn't take anything back to the ghetto. However my brother took a pail, filled it with dirt and under it put fruit. Mother took the fruit to the bakery and exchanged it for bread. Jan didn't survive the Holocaust, just like our parents, he went to the gas chamber at Auschwitz.


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