This is a photo of me and my colleagues from the Organization for Jewish-Arab Cooperation on a trip near Jerusalem. I don't remember much about that trip. It was not organized, we just had a free weekend, so we went for a trip.
In 1940 my father was told to leave the Protectorate [Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia] within one week. There was only one place in the world where it was possible to go with a J-passport - Shanghai. We took a train to Opatija, Italy and we waited there for the boat to Shanghai. But I was very lucky, because I got a student certificate there to study in Palestine, so I went to study biology in Jerusalem.
My studies in Palestine were an interesting experience. I got the certificate and everyone with the certificate got a scholarship for two years. It wasn't much but it helped. There were many Czechs with the certificate. Some of them were married, had left their wives at home and wanted to get them over to Palestine as well, so they renounced the scholarship and bought the certificate for them. I know that it worked in one or two cases. But still we had to work. I had to pay for the room I rented and I had to eat something. We were doing the cleaning at Jerusalem University, but there were too many applicants, so everyone only got the job for three months. I also cleaned in houses. At first I thought I could teach languages or something like that, but there were too many educated people. There were many doctors, who were selling eggs instead of working in their profession.
I entered the illegal Communist Party in Palestine because I wanted to help the poor and I believed all the ideas. I was active among students, we were teaching illiterate children but we did not have any political ambitions.
The Organization for Jewish-Arab Cooperation was a political thing. We wrote articles, had discussions etc. but it was not a practical thing. We didn't meet Arabs, we were just making theoretical efforts to improve the cooperation. The Arab man on the photo was there only by accident, he was not a member of our group.