Ruzena Kohnova with her daughter-in-law Marie Kohnova

Ruzena Kohnova with her daughter-in-law Marie Kohnova

On the right side of this photo is my grandmother, Ruzena Kohnova, nee Müllerova, and walking beside her is Marie Kohnova, nee Ulrichova, her daughter-in-law. The photograph is from 1938, and was taken in Prague.

My grandmother was born in Chocen in 1881. I don’t think that she had any higher education. She was originally a housewife, but after Grandpa died, she supported herself by arranging or offering goods. She moved to Prague, and I remember that we used to see her a lot. We often went on walks together. I remember that she was quite strict. I didn’t want to eat very much, and she was willing to sit with me for over an hour with food that had gone absolutely cold, insisting that I finish it. I apparently had problems with insufficient saliva, but I wasn’t allowed to drink with my food, so I remember that food being quite a hardship for me. But Grandma was convinced that if I were to drink, I’d have a full stomach and would eat even less.

I think Grandma used to visit us during the holidays, and we used to visit her as well. My father was an incredibly tolerant person. Their relationship probably wasn’t particularly close, but they definitely respected one another and behaved decently towards each other. Grandma evidently wasn’t capable of expressing her feelings much, because I felt that warmth and kindness more from Grandma and Grandpa Katz. But on the other hand, she used to selflessly come and take care of me.

My mother had a brother, Jiri, born in 1909. He graduated from electrical engineering, and worked with radios. At first he repaired them, then he set up a workshop and in England he had a store that sold and repaired radios. He married a Czech woman that had two children, Mirek and Zdenka. Her name was Marie, and she was the niece of Antonin Zapotocky. They had another two children together, Petr and Pavel. Right after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939, Jiri emigrated to England. Marie still managed to join him with the children. After her death in 1960, he remarried in England, to an English woman named Susan, and had one more son, Simon.

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