Michaela Vidlakova with her father and grandparents

On the left in this photo is my grandma’s second husband, Julius Katz, in the middle is my grandma Anna Katzova (nee Schwarzova), and on the right is my father, Jiri Lauscher, with me sitting on him, at the age of one and a half. The photo was taken in 1938, probably in Zbraslav, where we used to spend the summer holidays.

My paternal grandmother was named Anna Schwarzova, married name Lauscherova and later Katzova. She was born in 1876 in Pribram. Her mother tongue was German. I don’t think that she had any sort of higher education; she was a housewife. Her two sons, Frantisek and Jiri, were still small when their father died. Grandma then moved to Liberec to live with her brother, who supported her for several years. Later she then moved to Prague; by then my father was already working, and was basically supporting the family. Frantisek was studying in Austria.

Grandma later remarried. She married Julius Katz, a Jew, nevertheless I’m not sure if they had a Jewish wedding. For a long time I didn’t even know that my grandpa was actually my step-grandfather. He loved me dearly, and I him too. It wasn’t until after the war that I realized that his name was different from ours. Grandma and Grandpa lived in Prague. They already spoke Czech at home. I don’t think that Grandpa had any education more advanced than high school. He likely worked as the sales director of a chocolate factory, Velimka, I think. Grandpa would have heaped chocolate on me, but even as a child I wasn’t that fond of sweets.

Grandma and Grandpa weren’t exceptionally religious in any way, they simply just upheld Jewish traditions. They used to go to synagogue for the High Holidays. They didn’t keep a kosher household.

I remember Grandpa Katz as a smaller and somewhat round man. But by then he was actually almost 60. Back then I had the impression that he and Grandma were terribly old. Today, a 60-year-old is a young person to me. Grandpa was a merry and sociable person. Grandma held the reins of the household firmly in her hand.