Věra Steinová-Solarová

12.03.2017 | 18:09
Věra Steinová-Solarová

The dream came true

Věra Steinová, married to Solar, was born on 29 May 1927 in Prague as the only child in the family of a Jewish trader. She spent her childhood with her parents in an apartment in Vinohrady, across from the Riegrovy orchards.  

Her father Oskar Stein was a Jew and owned a toy shop at Wenceslas Square. However, during the First World War, he was seriously injured, resulting in at fi rst frequent, and later major headaches, which got worse over time. Her mother Mary, formerly Petterschová, came from a Catholic family, but before the wedding, she converted to the Jewish faith. After the birth of Věra, she stayed at home and took care of her family. Věra had a nice childhood which she still likes to remember. Since childhood she was raised in the Jewish faith. She took religion classes from Rabbi Gustav Sicher and attended elementary school on Na Smetance Street. The occupation, and anti-Jewish laws, started to affect her in the second year of grammar school on Londýnská Street. Shortly before she had to leave school a strange thing happened to her. It was an honor for the students to get the exhibits from the teachers´ offi ce and bring them into the classroom. Věra was selected to do so but when she came to the teacher’s offi ce, the teacher said to her, “Steinová, you are a Jew, you are not welcome here.” She late learned from her parents at home what the teacher meant.
The period of occupation for Věra meant, among other things, the obligation to wear a yellow star, which she secretly removed when she went to the cinema. The full force of this and other limitations aff ected her when she got a call to be transported. Disregarding the fact that she was a half-Jew, she had to register in Střešovice. Her dad was also summoned, but his health worsened. Věra recalls how a German doctor arrived at their home and sent him to a Jewish hospital where he died before he could be transported to Terezín by the Nazis. Mom was a Jew according to her marriage certifi cate, but was listed as Aryan by the Germans due to Christian origin. She did not wear a yellow star, she survived the war in Prague, but she had to leave their original apartment and move into to one room somewhere in Kačerov. She suff ered from severe diabetes, so she did not go to work, but the Germans did not go after her.
Věra went transported by herself. At fi rst, she spent about three days in a camp at the fairground in the Veletržní Palace. Her father‘ s brother with his wife, Uncle and Aunt Kraus were with her there. On 30 July 1942, Věra was deported from Prague by train (a total of 1,000 people) to Bohušovice and from there to the Terezín Ghetto. She was fi rst placed in one of the homes in a street named Q (she cannot remember the number), and although she was only 15 years old, she did not go to a girl‘s home but lived with adults. After three weeks, however, she got scarlet fever and ended up in the Vrchlabí barracks. After about six weeks, she recovered, but did not return to where she lived, but to the L 410 girl‘s house. She went to work in agriculture behind the gates of the ghetto where a harsh German named Kurzavý was in charge. But she was 15 years old, and at this age one has a diff erent tolerance for everything. After a short time, her relatives, father´s sister Trudy with her daughter Irka and her husband, an engineer Kraus, who worked as a builder, were transported to the ghetto by the transport AAUs on July 27, 1942. However, family Kraus was deported by last transport from Terezín to Osvetim-Auschwitz on October 28, 1944, where they did not survive. Only Irka‘s daughter stayed in Terezín, perhaps because she worked in agriculture like Věra did. Just before the last transport Věra had voluntarily signed up for it even though she did not know what awaited her in Auschwitz. But she wanted to stay with her relatives, especially her old aunt. Additionally to that, Vilda Singer, with whom she came to Terezín in 1942 and with whom she fell in love, also left by this transport. The two also liked each other a lot. She was already standing with her personal items at the Hamburg Barracks, but the SS man checked the list of transporters and told her to go back. She was not on the list because she was already working, as well as her cousin Irka, in the so-called “Glimmer” (mica factory), for the German military industry, an important branch where she split large mica cores into individual sheets. Due to sheer luck the two girls lived to see the end of the war. Vilda Singr was separated from his father when he arrived in Auschwitz. His father went straight to the gas chamber. Shortly after his arrival, perhaps on January 21, 1945, he was transferred from Auschwitz-Březina to the Golleschau branch (Polish Holešov) for about 1,000 prisoners. There was a cement plant, a quarry, and Vilda worked as a bricklayer. Later, he underwent a total of three death marches heading north to where he was supposed to wait for a ship the Germans wanted to sink in the seas with prisoners aboard. To their great fortune, they all came across the advancing Red Army.
At the end of the war the epidemic typhus spread in Terezin and the quarantine was declared. But it did not stop Vera to leave the ghetto and go to Prague in a secret. Her Mum‘s sister lived in Naměstí Míru Square, which was Vera´s fi rst stop. By coincidence she met her mother there. Vilda also returned to Prague. He found Věra’s address at the police department and went to see her.
The joy of reunion didn‘t last long as they now faced the reality of day to day life. Věra decided to pursue her life dream and study pharmacy. Her dad was indirectly responsible for this because he had also wanted to have a pharmacist as a daughter. However, she had to complete grammar school fi rst since she had been expelled due to her race during the occupation. But since Grammar School on London Street had a Greek, she decided to go to Grammar School in Lobkowitz Square, where she could study English and German since that is what she had been studying before the war. Since she was already supposed to be in the seventh year, she fi rst passed the exam and then went on to the seventh year and eventually graduated successfully. She then joined the State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL), where she remained until retirement.
In 1949, she got married to Vilda, who has already changed his name to Solar at the end of war, and although their marriage was childless, has lasted more than 60 years, until today.

For the Terezin Memorial, Ludek Sladek

Parents Oscar and Marie Stein Parents Oscar and Marie Stein Věra in about 1932 Obrázek č.4 Obrázek č.5 Věra with mother Little Věra with her grandmother Little Věra with her grandfather Wedding photo of Věra and Vilda (1949) Věra in the mountains, about 1937 With father at the swimming pool Věra and Vilda at Karlštejn Castle (1946)

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