Frantisek Kowanitz's permit from Terezin

Frantisek Kowanitz's permit from Terezin

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This is my brother-in-law Frantisek Kowanitz’s permit from Terezin.

In October 1941, my sister Gertruda married the Jewish man Frantisek Kowanitz in Vinohrady Town Hall. It was a civil wedding, and, for the occasion, I got some leather gloves and silk stockings.

They got a red dinner service from Aunt Elza, which I still have to this day. From another aunt, my sister got a gas oven, as well as an embroidered lace tablecloth with twelve covers, which was - and still is - very expensive.

Frantisek was born in 1916; he was a distant relative. He worked as a chief clerk and was in the coal business. By the time I met him he was no longer allowed to do his job.

We all lived together. I didn't like him at first, because they talked a lot and were all very jovial while I had to do the dishes.

I was about 13 and I kept a diary in which I wrote that I didn't like him because I had to be in the kitchen all the time.

My sister probably read it, because he started coming into the kitchen after that and said things like 'You're my sister-in-law' and 'Dear sister-in-law', so I liked him a lot then.

Frantisek was really good-looking and clever. He was a fine person. But we didn't know each other too well. My sister and me didn't understand each other too well either, on account of the big age difference between us.

By the time we had started to see eye-to-eye, we were in Terezin. They obviously got married quickly because deportations were already taking place at that time and they wanted to go together.

Immediately after the wedding, Frantisek was sent to a work camp [forced labor camp] in Lipa and then to Terezin. My sister went to Terezin in December 1941.

Frantisek was in head of the Ordnungsdienstes [Order Service] and this document is his original permit which he used to prove his identity in Terezin.

In Terezin I started to collect all different kinds of documents and I received this Legitimation from Frantisek.

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Interviewee

Anna Hyndrakova