May 14, 1945
May 14, 1945
Terzin Ghetto, Czechoslovakia
The Diary of Eva Ginzova
Eva Ginzova arrived in Theresienstadt in May of 1944. She had not been sent earlier because of her status under Nazi regulations. Eva’s father was Jewish, but her mother was not. According to the Nazi racial laws, she was mischlinge of the first degree. This meant that she was supposedly “half-Jewish”. As a result, she did not have to go into the Terezin Ghetto until she turned fourteen years old. Even though Eva was in Theresienstadt for only about one year, this does not mean that she suffered less than others who had been there longer.
THE ANXIETY OF LIBERATION
One of Eva’s greatest concerns was the fate of other members of her family. Her older brother Petr had been sent to Theresienstadt twenty months earlier. His presence in the camp was a great comfort to Eva when she arrived, but it was an even greater loss to her when he was deported to Auschwitz a few months later.
“This is the end of my diary since I only want to have my memories from Terezin in it.”
Eva kept her diary all the way until she was liberated at the end of the war. To an outside observer, liberation would seem to be an occasion for great joy. For Eva, though, this joy was tempered by two sources of anxiety. The first was related to the chaos that surrounded the retreat of the German forces and the arrival of Soviet troops. It was still possible, even up to the very end, to be caught in the crossfire and killed. Eva survived this danger and arrived back at her home on May 13th. Germany surrendered five days earlier and Eva was finally free. When she got home she recorded her last full entry in her diary. She wrote, “Yesterday morning (May 13th) I arrived back home. Petr wasn’t home (I was secretly hoping he would be). We’re now expecting him every day, for him to come back or at least to have some news of him.” She concluded her entry with the words, “This is the end of my diary since I only want to have my memories from Terezin in it. But when Petr comes back, I’ll write it here.”
Sadly, the second source of Eva’s anxiety was never alleviated. Her great concern for Petr and her eagerness for his return never went away. She wrote one last sentence in her diary two years later. “Petr hasn’t come back.”
Learn more about Eva Ginzova (now Chava Pressberger), her career as an artist, and the publication of her brother’s diary.
Learn about the fate of her brother, Petr Ginz.