Anna Hyndrakova

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  • Photo taken in:
    Prague
    Year when photo was taken:
    1941
    Country name at time of photo:
    Protectorate of Bohemia/Moravia 1938-45
    Country name today:
    Czech Republic

This picture of me was taken in Prague in 1941 by the brother of Frantisek Kowanitz, the husband of my sister Gertruda Kowanitzova, nee Kovanicova.

I used to read a lot when I was a child, and I still do. I began reading Rodokapsy [cheap paperbacks] and when my sister saw this, she started to give me books from the European Literary Club, which I read at quite a young age.

So I read novels from childhood, but only the ones by good authors, not romantic fiction or whodunits. I was also a good swimmer; in tests I used to swim across a lake with a boat going alongside me. I also did ice-skating and went skiing several times.

I went to Maccabi from the age of four and then I really wanted to go to Sokol, because I liked those disgusting Sokol girls' outfits. I asked mum and she went to the Vinohrady Sokol Hall, sometime in 1938 or 1939, to sign me on.

However, the woman in charge said she was sorry but they didn't accept Jews. Instead I went a few times to the Workers' P.T. Unit [Physical Training], which was a kind of social democratic organization.

One time we were doing an exercise known as the 'Candle', and my insteps were stretched when one girl turned to me and said, 'You've got Jewish feet.' After that I stopped going there.

I was brought up in such a way that I was supposed to greet everyone I met. I used to say 'salutations' to my mum's friends. In September 1941, mum sewed a yellow star on my jacket and said to me:

'You needn't be ashamed of it, it isn't your fault, but you're not to greet anyone any more, as it might make them feel awkward or even threatened.' I remember going out with my friend, Bohumila, who didn't wear the star to begin with, as she was of mixed race.

We were walking together - me with the star on, her without - when we met some woman who said to my friend: 'You should be ashamed of yourself, going around with a Jewess.' When she got home she made a scene and said she wanted to wear the star, too.

Interview details

Interviewee: Anna Hyndrakova
Interviewer:
Pavla Neuner
Month of interview:
June
Year of interview:
2003
Prague, Czech Republic

KEY PERSON

Anna Hyndrakova
Year of birth:
1928
Decade of birth:
1920
City of birth:
Prague
Country name at time of birth:
Czechoslovakia 1918-1938
Occupation
after WW II:
Office clerk
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Kovanicova
    Year of changing: 
    1949
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage
    Decade of changing: 
    1940

Additional Information

Also interviewed by:
Survivors of the Shoah Visual History FoundationJewish Museum in Prague

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