Heda Ambrova with family and relatives hiking in the High Tatras

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This photo was taken in 1928 during our tour of the High Tatras, at Strbsky Ples to be precise. In the bottom row from the right: I (Heda Ambrova), my sister Magda Erdelyiova, my cousins Edit Porges and Artur Porges. Upper row from left: my cousin Vojtech Kürti, Dr. Manci Dresser, Uncle Max Porges, Aunt Leona Porges, my mother Ruzena Erdelyiova and another cousin, Karol Kürti. We were this permanent group. Each year we’d go hiking. In those days Jews laughed at us, who’d go on vacation with a backpack. Back then people preferred different types of vacations.

Manci Dresser graduated from medicine in Vienna. She was a children’s gynecologist. In November 1938 she left Austria and came to stay with us. She tried to get further West, and also succeeded. She got to England, where they didn’t recognize her degree in medicine. She had to work as a nurse. When London was being bombed, she saved several dozen children, and as a reward she was given permission to practice medicine.

Aunt Leona married Max Porges. At first they lived in Dobsina, and later in Zilina. Mr. Porges was in the wood business. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The daughter’s name was Edit, and she married an engineer by the name of Bock. In 1944 they caught and executed them. The boy’s name was Artur, and he was born in Dobsina on 11th November 1922. In 1939 he left with the ‘Kinderaliyah’ for Palestine. In Palestine he said he was a year older so that he could join the army. He was sent to fight in Italy and in Egypt. After the war he got married to a girl from Piestany by the name of Truda Sohnenschein. She left with the same aliyah as he did. They’ve got two children, girls. One is named Irit and is a biologist, and the other’s name is Ronit. She teaches geography and physical education at high school. Artur is still alive.

Aunt Leona and Uncle Max were caught in 1944. They were murdered and buried in a mass grave by Turcianske Teplice. Those graves were later opened. One lady managed to survive in the following manner: my aunt, Leona Porges, was second last in the lineup for execution, and the lady that survived was to have been last. When they were leading them there, they knew that they were going to be shot. The lady said to her: ‘Let’s hide behind a tree, they can’t do anything worse than shoot us.’ My aunt didn’t hide, but that lady did. She then told us about it.

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Heda Ambrova

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