Eva Ginzova: July 1, 1944

Eva Ginzova was the child of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. The Nazis categorized her as “mischling of the first degree”. Essentially this meant that she was considered half-Jewish. The regulation for Czech children with this status was that they had to report to Theresienstadt (also known as the Terezin Ghetto) at the age of fourteen. When Eva reached this age, she had to leave her home and her loving parents. Her only consolation was that she would be reunited with her older brother Petr who was already in Theresienstadt.

Theresienstadt was quite a shock for Eva. The conditions were terrible due to overcrowding and lack of adequate food and sanitation. When she arrived, she thought that the war was nearly over and that she would only have to stay a short time. As this turned out not to be true, she began to doubt her ability to endure. On July 1 she wrote, “Another new month! When I arrived here, I thought I would definitely be back home within two months, but I’m now starting to lose hope because Uncle Milos keeps saying that we will definitely still be here through the winter. I probably wouldn’t be able to last that long. I’ve already had enough of it here – all the grown-ups who came here with me are leaving today for Birkenau. They were the poor things that had been released from prison and were mostly all skin and bones. They can only take with them what they can carry themselves and people in their state won’t be able to carry much.”

When Eva witnessed this group being deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, she was getting two unwelcome glimpses into her possible future. Those who were imprisoned for long periods often began to decline due to the progressive effects of malnutrition. As if that wasn’t bad enough, inmates at Theresienstadt also had to fear deportation. Although it is clear that Eva did not know the fate that awaited the deportees, she could not have believed that it would lead to something better. By the summer of 1944, it was clear that Germany was losing the war. Eva’s only hope was that she could avoid the twin dangers of starvation and deportation long enough to make it to the day of liberation.

You may read entries from Eva Ginzova’s diary in Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.

You may take a virtual tour of the Theresienstadt site here.

June 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the destruction of the Czech town of Lidice, near Terezin. You may learn more about this Nazi war crime here.

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