Eva Štixová

01.11.2013 | 00:00
Eva Štixová

Remembering me
This story is somewhat diff erent to those we have told so far. It is mainly because the leading character was only eight months old when the gate of the ghetto in Terezín shut closed behind her.

Eva Štixová, née Fischerová, was born on 13th May 1941 in Plzeň (Pilsen). Eva’s parents, Bedřich Fischer and Gertruda, née Schwarzkopfová, got married in 1940. Eva’s grandfather had a wholesale warehouse with fabrics and drapery in Plzeň where Eva’s father worked as a shop man. He was deported to the Small Fortress in Terezín before the fi rst transports of Jews from Plzeň at the end of 1940, because a man who had collected money for the children of imprisoned communists and had made a list of all those who had contributed. Although he himself escaped being arrested as he hanged himself in the toilet while the house search was being conducted by the Gestapo. They discovered the list of names and arrested all those on the list. These people were moved from Terezín to the concentration camp in Mauthausen where all of them were tortured to death.
On 26th January 1942 Eva was taken on the third transport “T” from Plzeň to the Terezín ghetto along with the whole family from both her mother’s and her father’s side. In Terezín her mother’s job was to remove the suitcases from the station.
Although all of them were living in an overcrowded room, the warden found a way of doubling the capacity of this space. The inmates took turns, after twelve hours half of them, that is the fi fty people who had stayed there for the night, got up and as soon as they had left for work another fi fty came in to sleep during the day. This hot bunking went on every single day. Little Eva was hidden amongst them. Another transport to the concentration camps was about to be dispatched – maybe to Auschwitz or Mauthausen – and Eva, her mother and grandmother were supposed to go on it too. But Eva contracted whooping cough and her mother had to decide whether to go with Eva’s grandmother or to stay with Eva in the ghetto. She stayed with her daughter and this way, she saved her life, unlike the rest of her relatives.
Both of them were allowed to walk along the Terezín walls once or twice a week to aid Eva’s recovery. And since they did not go on any of the further transports, they lived to see the liberation of Terezín. Nevertheless, Eva cannot remember anything from the ghetto, nor did they talk about anything after the war, so her memories are very fragmentary. However, when she and her mother went to see Terezín in 1946, Eva infallibly found the house as well as the room where they had been kept during the war. After the war, they returned to Plzeň where some three thousand Jews had been living before the war. Eva was one of only fi ve children and 204 Jews who survived the Nazi rule. Her only surviving family was her father’s brother because he went to Palestine in 1938 to participate in establishing the Jewish country.
In Plzeň, thanks to her grandfather’s will, which named Eva as the only heir, his wholesale warehouse was given back to the family. Eva was a minor though and therefore her mother became the trustee of the property. However, nobody returned their personal belongings, documents, photographs or other equipment. Eva had a different kind of problem as she spoke only German which was the norm in their family. After the war, the Czech language was required. Her mother and her second husband sent Eva to Eva’s step-father’s friend, a coachman Rickauer to Kozolupy. Eva spoke only correct German whereas the coachman spoke only slang German which was problem in their communication. Soon after, they placed Eva at their former housemaid’s, who was living in Losiné near Plzeň, followed by a few other families. She attended fi rst grade in Plzeň in Petákova Street (at that time Pionýrů Street) and later a secondary school in Americká Street (at that time Stalinova Street). She managed to enrol at a school of economics, which was no longer “in fashion”, as she was the granddaughter of a businessman. She graduated in 1958.
While she was a student, she worked as a secretary at the Machinery Tractor Station on the outskirts of Plzeň and the director promised her that after she fi nished her school he would ask for her job placement card to their company. When it came to it, however, she did not get the promised job and so she started working as a payroll clerk for Škoda factory in Plzeň.
In 1963 Eva got married and a year later, she had a son Roman and in 1968 a daughter Iveta. She was supposed to go back to the accounting department after her fi rst maternity leave but she was off ered the business deputy’s secretary position which she accepted. It could have been because of her grandfather’s genes that Eva’s biggest wish was to sell things and because there was not enough money in the sixties she started working part-time in Prior, a department store in Plzeň. One day, she was approached by two Tuzex employees who off ered her a shop assistant’s job in the Plzeň Tuzex branch (Tuzex was a network of special shops accepting western currency). She declined this fi rst off er, because of her children but not long after, having discussed the matter with her husband she agreed and then worked in Tuzex for 35 years. After 1989, her dream came completely true as she opened her own shop, and later another one. She has been running the fi rst one ever since. Since her early childhood, Eva attended religious classes, celebrated holidays in the synagogue and since the age of 23, she has worked in the Committee of the Jewish Community in Plzeň.
She took over the presidency of the community from Arnošt Bergmann in 2006. She has to be recognized for the eff orts she has given to the reconstruction of synagogues in Plzeň, especially the Great Synagogue – which is the biggest synagogue in the Czech Republic, the second biggest one in Europe and the third biggest one in the world. It is a synagogue which miraculously survived the war, escaped socialist redevelopment into baths by a hairs breadth and thanks to the concurrence of lucky coincidences and many people’s eff orts, today it is used in the manner it was originally meant for. Despite that, fi nishing off its reconstruction will still require a great deal of our goodwill.

 

For Památník Terezín Luděk Sládek

www.pamatnik-terezin.cz


Eva Štixová Jews before the Sokol house in Pilsen ready for deportation to
Terezín (8-months-old Eva in the arms of her grandmother on the
right) Great synagogue in Pilsen Interior of the Great synagogue in Pilsen


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