Věra Vacková – Žahourková A Distressful Journey to Freedom

01.05.2008 | 12:18
Věra Vacková–Žahourková

A Distressful Journey to Freedom
Věra Vacková – Žahourková born to the family of a state offi cial Jaroslav Vacek and Anna, née Ohnesorgová in 1925. As she remembers today, she had a nice childhood in Tábor.

At first she lived with her parents in Erbenova, and later in Hradební street. Little Věra was the third of brothers and sisters Vaceks. The fi rst Jiřina died shortly after her birth, the second was Jaroslav (1922), and the youngest Drahoslava (1927). Already four years old she exercised in Sokol and she enjoyed sports all her life. When she left an elementary school, she accepted that she can’t continue in her studies, but she decided otherwise. Without parents’ permition she enrolled to the grammar school in Tábor, and was accepted without schoolfees. On the sad day for the whole nation, March 15, 1939, Věra was in her fourth year. During the occupation her national feeling became stronger, and when she got to know that her father was organizing illegal revolt she decided to help him,
not considering possible consequences. Her father was arrested on February 2, 1943 when being in hospital in Tábor with heart weakness. During the way to Gestapo he managed to run away on Jordán pier, but because of heart failure he stumbled and was caught. Eight days later, on February 8, 1943, Věra, her mother and brother Jaroslav who came to visit his ill father from Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The youngest Věra’s sister Drahuška was omitted by Gestapo. Věra liked singing very much. That was the reason why a Gestapo soldier Müller broke her neck vertebra by slapping her face in the Tábor jail. After questioning she was transported to Terezín on May 7, 1943, where she sang again, and even became famous as a “Terezín Little Nightingale”. At the beginning of January she was announced that she and her mother were being transported, and after breaks in Kamenice (Chemnitz) and Leipzig they arrived in the Nazi concentration camp Rawensbrück (on January 27, 1944). From there Věra was transferred to Neubrandenburg – the extension of the camp Rawensbruck, and later that year to Waldbau for work in an underground factory, where later also her mother was transferred. From there they both got on the nightmare death march (on April 27, 1945), but Věra, her mother and other nine Czech women managed to escape and hide in the desolate brickworks. In the end they were near Neubrandenburg on April 30 saved by the Red Army. To their native Tábor they both returned after a distressful journey on May 22, 1945, and happily met already eighteen years old Drahuška. So lucky wasn’t neither Jaroslav Vacek Sr., nor Jaroslav Vacek Jr.

Luděk Sládek

Památník Terezín


Věra, Jaroslav and Drahuše Vacek´s As a player of Slavie Tábor Postcard – Terezín 1943 Prison confi rmation – Ravensbrück Obrázek č.5 Obrázek č.6 Obrázek č.7 During commemoration in the camp Ravensbrück Obrázek č.9 Obrázek č.10 Obrázek č.11 Obrázek č.12

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