Viera Slesingerova with her mom Helena Pollakova and a relative

Viera Slesingerova with her mom Helena Pollakova and a relative
+
  • Photo taken in:
    Prague
    Year when photo was taken:
    1939
    Country name at time of photo:
    Protectorate of Bohemia/Moravia 1938-45
    Country name today:
    Czech Republic
This picture was taken in 1939 in Prague, on the terrace of our apartment on Horni Stromky Street. We were sunbathing there. I am the one sitting in striped clothes, my mom Helena Pollakova, nee Paszternak is standing behind me and beside me there is Marie, daughter of one of my dad's cousins. The picture was taken by Marie's husband. We left Slovakia as all Czech state officials had to return to Bohemia. My dad was supposed to have taken office in Prague, but as this was just after the Nazi occupation, he didn't. He received a basic salary but was no longer employed. When we were moving, Slovak guardsmen checked all out furniture that we were sending to Prague, to see if we were smuggling anything. That was very unpleasant. Otherwise I didn't encounter any specific manifestation of anti-Semitism directed against me before the war. All I can remember is an incident on a train when I was traveling with my mom from Zilina to see my grandparents in Kosice. We were sitting in a compartment with a man who was calling Jews names. He talked about how young Jewish women were all made up and such like. He then said to my mom who, as I mentioned earlier, spoke Czech without an accent, 'You, dear lady, look like a modest Czech woman.' In reply, mom said, 'Yes, and I am Jewish.' The man then stood up and went straight out of the compartment. We toyed with the idea of emigrating. My parents put in an application for a US visa, but unfortunately our relatives abroad were not wealthy enough to speed things up in any way. My parents wanted to send me away. I know that they made arrangements with someone in England and that they wanted to send me off to do a nursing course. But when the war broke out in September, my mom was to have an operation and I didn't want to leave her on her own, and after that it wasn't possible to go anywhere.

Interview details

Interviewee: Viera Šlesingerová
Interviewer:
Pavla Neuner
Month of interview:
January
Year of interview:
2004
Prague, Czech Republic

KEY PERSON

Viera Šlesingerová
Year of birth:
1924
City of birth:
Kosice
Occupation
after WW II:
Teacher
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Pollakova
    Year of changing: 
    1950
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

Other Person

Helena Pollakova
Year of birth:
1896
City of birth:
Buzica
Country name at time of birth:
Austria
Year of death:
1944
City of death:
Auschwitz
Country of death:
Poland
Died where:
Auschwitz
Occupation
before WW II:
Housewife
  • Previous family name: 
    Paszternak
    Year of changing: 
    1920
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

Additional Information

Also interviewed by:
Jewish Museum in Prague, Shoah Visual History Foundation
Date of interview:
1990s

More photos from this country

Gertruda Glasova with her sons Jan and Martin Glas in Bukovno

Read more biographies from this country

glqxz9283 sfy39587stf02 mnesdcuix8
glqxz9283 sfy39587stf03 mnesdcuix8