Photo taken in:BrnoYear when photo was taken:1939Country name at time of photo:Protectorate of Bohemia/Moravia 1938-45Country name today:Czech Republic
This is a photo of me and members of the Techelet lavan on a trip in Brno at the end of the 1930s. I don't remember any details about the trip itself or the people in the photo.
After 1938, when the Germans occupied Sudetenland, we left Mikulov and went to Brno. My parents weren't allowed to work in Brno [because of the anti-Jewish laws in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia], but we had brought some money from Mikulov. At first we rented an apartment there.
I finished grammar school in Brno. It was a Jewish grammar school with Czech as teaching language. There were Jewish teachers who couldn't teach anywhere else. They were great. Our teacher of history and philosophy was the only Jewish associate professor at Brno University. We also had an excellent teacher of biology, who made me interested in the subject very much. I was a member of Techelet lavan [leftist Zionist organization] in Brno.
It was a Jewish youth organization, a Zionist movement. It was founded by young people who wanted to go to the kibbutz and were also influenced by a German movement called Wandervogel [founded in 1895]. Wandervogel was a youth movement, a somewhat left-wing and very romantic movement. People went on trips together, had their own songs and read romantic literature. It was founded in Germany and also existed in Austria and here [in the Czech lands]. Originally, Techelet lavan was called Blau-Weiss [German for Blue-and-White]. It was like a Jewish Wandervogel.
I became a member after I arrived in Brno. I met people from Techelet lavan at school and I was also left-wing, so I was happy to have the possibility to become a member of such an organization. We made trips, studied the history of the Zionist movement, but also the ideas of socialism and Marxism. We also read literature. It was a kind of intellectual movement. We were interested in philosophy and literature and also in music: we sang beautiful songs. It was absurd, I didn't understand it in those times, but then, during the war, I realized that we were concerned about Chinese literature and didn't realize at all that meanwhile the world was being destroyed.