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Czech Republic: Names of Holocaust victims to be read at 13 different towns on the occasion of Yom Hashoah

24.4.2017 11:33
This afternoon throughout the Czech Republic people will read the names of the Jewish and Romani victims of the Nazi concentration camps. (PHOTO:
This afternoon throughout the Czech Republic people will read the names of the Jewish and Romani victims of the Nazi concentration camps. (PHOTO:

Today in Prague on Jiřího z Poděbrad Square and in at least another 12 towns of the Czech Republic there will be public readings of the names of victims of the Holocaust. As is traditional, the ceremony is happening on the occasion of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In addition to traditional locations such as Blatná, Brno, Havlíčkův Brod, Kolín, Kutná Hora, Liberec, Olomouc, Plzeň, Prague and Sušice, the towns of Klatovy, Kosova Hora and Ústí nad Labem are joining the public reading series. The marathon of reading the names of individual children, men and women who were murdered, persecuted and otherwise victimized during the Second World War because Jewish or Roman origins were attributed to them will be attended by Holocaust survivors, people who care about remembering the victims, representatives of Jewish and Romani organizations, and significant figures in cultural and public life, such as Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Meron and Slovak Ambassador Peter Weiss, who have promised to attend in Prague.


Blatná, Tř. J. P. Koubka, 14:00 - 15:00 / Brno, Moravské náměstí, 14:00 - 17:00 / Havlíčkův Brod, Havlíčkovo náměstí, 14:00 - 16:00 / Klatovy, at the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust at the corner of Denisova and Randova Streets, 14:00 - 16:00 / Kolín, Karlovo náměstí, 14:00 - 16:00 / Kosova Hora, Kosova Hora Synagogue, 14:00 - 15:00 / Kutná Hora, Municipal Library, 14:00 - 16:00 / Liberec, náměstí Dr. E. Beneše, 14:00 - 15:30 / Olomouc, Horní náměstí, 14:00 - 16:00 / Plzeň, Smetanovy sady, U branky, 14:00 - 17:00 / Praha, náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad, 14:00 - 17:00 / Sušice, náměstí Svobody, 14:00 - 15:30 / Ústí nad Labem, the piazzetta in front of Hraničář, 14:00 - 15:30

Commemoration and march in Prague to honor Holocaust victims

Roughly 300 people attended a commemoraitve program called "We Are All Human Beings" yesterday afternoon in the Wallenstein Gardens in Prague, after which they marched through the streets of Prague's Jewish Town. This is the 14th year that the event against antisemitism has been held.

The event is organized by the Czech branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem organization. "Antisemitism is not new. It appears in different forms. During this past year we have seen a dramatic growth in the number of antisemitic attacks in Europe and North America. Last year was the worst year for such attacks since the Nazi era," Israeli Ambassador Daniel Meron told the assembly.

According to the chair of ICEJ in the Czech Republic, Mojmír Kallus, because of these intensifying attacks today it remains necessary to commemorate the events that cost the lives of six million people. This year's event in Prague was attended by Evelina Merová and Judith Rosenzweigová, who both survived the Terezín ghetto.

The two lived together there in room number 28. Of a total of 60 girls who were there, only 15 survived their imprisonment.

The book "The Girls of Room 28" familiarizes readers with their fates and with the survivors' recollections. "We were all born in 1930. We got along well, we never argued. The governess helped us with our studies. From the age of 10 we were no longer able to go to school. Somebody was always watching the corridor to see if the guards were coming. When they did, we began singing. There was a girl with a beautiful voice, she sang in the opera Brundibar, but she unfortunately did not make it back home," said Judith Rosenzweigová, who now lives in Haifa, Israel.

Rosenzweigová made it to the Jewish state immediately after it was established in 1948. Evelina Merová now lives in Prague.

After surviving Auschwitz, Merová made it to what was then the Soviet Union, where she was adopted by a doctor's family. She returned to Czechoslovakia in 1960.

"My view of the world is a bit different. We have a different scale of values. Sometimes these laments and quarrels seem petty to us, because we know life is about something else," Merová says.

The Holocaust survivor and Prague resident said she believes people must perceive just what is important and not worry about unessential matters. "Never do anything that goes against your conscience, even when that is difficult sometimes. One must never carry out any orders that go against one's conscience as a human being," she said.

For her part, Rosenzweigová said she wished there could be calm and peace everywhere on earth. "It's not worth it to kill each other over nothing, to lose our dear people, it's never of any consequence," she said.

Yom Hashoah, Remembrance Day

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day (in Hebrew, "Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah") is a day when, by holding commemorative ceremonies, the public honors the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It falls on the April anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

On 19 April 1943, a month-long battle began between the ghetto residents and the Wehrmacht, who were persistently resisted. The uprising resulted in 56 000 people either deported or immediately killed, with unofficial data saying the victim toll was as high as 70 000.

During the war, the Nazis murdered 6 000 000 people of Jewish origin. From the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, 80 000 Jewish people perished, while from all of Czechoslovakia, the prewar Jewish community of which numbered 350 000, a total of 250 000 Jewish people died.

Of the overall number of more than 5 000 Czech and Moravian Romani people imprisoned in the Auschwitz complex and in other concentration camps, about 600 returned after the liberation. This means just one-tenth of the indigenous Romani people survived the Nazi terror in the Czech lands.

ČTK, jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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