Photo taken in:PragueCountry name at time of photo:Czechoslovakia, 1945-1989Country name today:Czech Republic
This photo of me was taken in Prague in the 1940s after I came back from my studies in Palestine in 1946. It was taken by my friend Helga. Helga and me became friends in Brno at the beginning of the war - we were classmates. She was deported to Terezin but she survived. After the war she went to Libya to her sister and brother-in-law. Then she went to London and finally to America, where she became a painter. I returned to Prague in 1946. I didn't want to stay in Palestine because I felt my home was here, in the Czech Republic, and I had enough of emigrating. I didn't want to go to America and I especially didn't want to go to Mikulov because it was a cemetery for me: only four Jews returned there after the war. Some of them had emigrated before the war, that's true, part of the young people went to Palestine and some of them were in England, but they were only a few left anyway. Our lives were saved by emigrating because nobody else from our relatives in Mikulov or in Austria, apart from my father's two brothers, who had left for England, survived. I finished my PhD after I went to Prague. It was quite a formal thing because the studies in Palestine were much more difficult than the ones here. I started to work as a researcher in the Research Institute for Plant-Growing. I worked there until the 1960s, then I went to the Institute for Experimental Botany. I met my husband at work - we were working in the same institute. My husband's name was Slavomil Hejny. He was born in 1921 in Vysocina. He spent his childhood in Protivin. Then he moved to Prague, where he studied and worked at the university. Later he worked as a director of the Institute of Botany in Pruhonice [a suburb of Prague]. He had the same education as I. He wasn't Jewish. I had always told everyone that I'm a Jew, and I said it to my future husband as well. And I told him that he could have problems because of it. But he got very angry and told me that he wanted to marry me no matter what. My family didn't mind that he wasn't Jewish. My sister's husband wasn't Jewish either. We got married at the local council in Prague.