Eva Ginzová's Diary Entries on Petr's Deportation from Theresienstadt, September 27–28, 1944

Entries from the diary of Eva Ginzová from September 27 and 28, 1944, in which Ginzová describes her brother Petr's deportation from the Theresienstadt ghetto.


September 27 [1944]

So Petr and Pavel are on the transport. They got their notice the day before yesterday. They said that they were leaving the next day, but for the moment they are still here because the train hasn’t yet arrived. They are living in the attic of the Hamburg barracks, but they are here in Uncle’s attic room the whole time. It’s not as strict here as in Prague. There, you wouldn’t be able to get away with someone leaving the šlojska [collection point for deportees] to go for a walk around town. We’re hoping that the transport will stay here. The word is that there’s a strike throughout the Protectorate, so the train won’t even arrive.

When I found out that Petr was in the transport, it made me feel ill. I ran from here to the toilet where I cried my eyes out. I try to keep calm in front of Petr—I don’t want to make him feel worse. They are supposed to go somewhere near Dresden. I’m really worried that there will be bombing there and that something may happen to the boys. Petr’s not used to a lot of [manual] work and there’s bound to be hard labor there. My dearest boy! We haven’t quarreled at all since I arrived here and I don’t know what I’d do if he left! Uncle isn’t on the transport, but he might still be called up. He thinks, though, that he won’t be now, because he has a leading status and would be difficult to replace. At first, he wanted to volunteer and go with the boys so he’d be with them together, but then he changed his mind - they might have gone to one place and he to another place. But the main reason was that Hanka and I would be left here completely on our own.

I’m very hopeful that none of them will go. Uncle wants us to move into his attic room if (God forbid) the boys and the other two in his room left. I don’t want to even contemplate being here without Petr.

[. . .] Mummy and Daddy, I really miss you, especially now that my only support is leaving. Who knows if we’ll all get together again? Oh, if only the war would end — it’s a bit too much for us! What will my family at home say once they find out that Petr’s gone! Maybe they already know—Karel Müller wrote about it in his letter home. Poor Mummy and Daddy!1

 

September 28 [1944]

The train’s already here and both boys have already got on it. Petr’s number 2392 and Pavel 2626. They’re together in the same car. Petr’s terribly calm and Uncle is full of admiration for him. I hoped to the last minute that the train wouldn’t come, even though I knew it would. But what can be done? Just this morning Hanka and I were with them at the šlojska. It was a horrible sight that will stay with me forever. A crowd of women, children, and old men, were pressed around the barracks to get a last look at their son, husband, father, or brother. The men leaning out of the window were pressed one against the other to catch a glimpse of their dearest ones. But the barracks were guarded by police guards so that no one would escape. The Ghettowachmanns [ghetto guards] stood by the building and drove back people who came too close to it. The men from the windows waved and said good-byes to their relatives and with their looks. The sound of crying came from all around. We quickly ran home and brought the boys two slices of bread each so that they wouldn’t be hungry. I pressed through the crowd, crawled under the rope that separated the crowd from the barracks, and passed Petr the bread through the window. I had enough time to hold his hand through the bars before a guard drove me away. At least it worked out all right. Now the boys are gone and the only thing left from them here is their empty beds.2

Citations

  • 1 : Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, 2nd edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015) 179–80.
  • 2 : Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, 2nd edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015) 180.

Topic:
Holocaust
Place:
Czechoslovakia

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