Vera Steinova-Solarova

12.03.2017 | 18:09
Vera Steinova-Solarova

Vera Steinova, married Solarova, was born on 29th May 1927 in Prague as the only child of a Jewish merchant. She was grown up by her parents in an apartment in Vinohrady, opposite of Rieger Orchards.

Her father, Oskar Stein, was a Jew who ran a toy shop on Wenceslas Square next to the museum. During the First World War, he was seriously wounded which resulted in frequent and considerable headaches which were worse and worse. Her mum, Marie, nee Petterschova, came from a Catholic family, to the contrary, but before her marriage she accepted the Jewish religious. After the birth of Vera, she stayed at home and took care of the family. Vera had a nice childhood, which is still kept in her mind. She followed the Jewish religious since her childhood. She attended the religious lessons at Rabbi Gustav Sicher and she also attended an elementary school in the street Na Smetance. Occupation and its anti-Jewish laws met her in a second year of grammar school in street Londynska. Shortly before she had to leave the school, a special thing had happened to her. It was an honor for pupils to bring the exhibits to the classroom for a teacher. Once, when Vera was chosen and came into the teacher´s room, the teacher told her, „Stein, you‘re a Jew, I do not want you to come here.“ Then at home, her parents told her what the teacher had meant by saying that. For Vera, the time of occupation also meant the obligation to wear the yellow star, among other things, but she took it off in secret when she went to the cinema. These and other restrictions hit her by full force when she had received a summons to transport. Regardless of the fact that she was a half-Jewish, she had to register in Stresovice. Her father was also summoned, but his health got more serious. Vera remembers how a German doctor came to their house and sent her father to a Jewish hospital, where he had died before he could be transported by the Nazis to Terezin. Her mum, according to a marriage certifi cate, a Jewess, was taken as an Aryan by the Germans because of her Christian origin. Therefore, she did not wear the yellow star, she survived the war in Prague, but had to leave their original fl at and move into a small room somewhere in Kacerov. She suff ered from diabetes, therefore, she did not work, but the Germans have not persecuted her. So, Vera went to a transport alone. First, she spent about three days in a prison camp in the exhibition centre at the Trade Fair Palace. Her father´s brother with his wife and uncle and aunt Kraus were there with her. Vera was deported by train from Prague (total of 1000 persons) in Bohušovice by Transporting AAV on 30 July 1942, and then by walk to the Terezin ghetto. First, she was located in one of the houses in the street Q (number is not remembered), and although she was only 15 years old, she did not go to the girl‘s shelter, but she lived together with adults. However, after three weeks, she got scarlet fever and ended up in Vrchlabi barracks. After about six weeks, she got well, but did not return to the same place where she had lived, but to the girls‘ shelter L 410. She started to work in agriculture at the gates of the ghetto, where a rowdy German Kurzavy was in a charge of her. She was 15 years old and at that age everything is tolerated in a diff erent way. 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 Terezin to Osvetim-Auschwitz on October 28, 1944,, where they did not survive. Only their daughter Irka stayed in Terezin, perhaps because she was working as Vera in agriculture. Vera also volunteered for this last transport, although she did not know what waits for her in Osvetim – Auschwitz. But she really wanted to stay with her relatives, especially with her old aunt. Additionally to that, Vilda Singer, with whom she came to Terezin in 1942 and with whom she fell in love, also left by this transport. She was standing and waiting with her bundle in the Hamburg barracks, but the SS man who was ticking off the transport list, ordered Vera to return back. She was not on the list probably because of working, as well as her cousin Irka, at the so-called „Glimmer“ (mica factory), for the German military industry an important sector, where she was peeling mica. Both girls lived to see the end of the war, thanks to the great luck. After arriving in Osvetim-Auschwitz, Vilda Singr was separated from his father, who went straight to the gas chambers in the selection. Shortly after arriving, perhaps on 21st January 1945, he was transferred from Osvetim-Auschwitz to the ancillary camp Golleschau (Polish Holesov), for about 1,000 prisoners. There was a cement factory, quarry and Vilda worked as a bricklayer there. He later underwent three death marches, which were directed somewhere to the north, where they were allegedly waiting for the ship that the Germans wanted to get sink with prisoners in the open sea. To the great fortune of all, they ran into the Red Army on the way.

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 Namesti Miru Square, which was Vera´s fi rst stop. Coincidentally, she met her mother there as well. Vilda also returned to Prague, and when he discovered Vera ´s address from the police, he rang at their doors. The joy of reunion was replaced by the reality of everyday life. Vera decided to pursue her lifelong dream and study pharmacy. It was her father´s idea because he wanted his daughter to be a pharmacist. Firstly, Vera had to fi nish a high school, because she was fi red for her origin during the occupation. The grammar school in Londynska street focused on Greek language, so she decided to attend the secondary school at Lobkowitz Square, where she could focus on English language, which she had studied along with German language before the war. As she should have studied the seventh year, she had to pass all the tests fi rst and then continue. She was successful and after the graduation she joined the State Institute for Drug Control (SIDC), where she was until her 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




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