Eva Herrmannová

01.09.2009 | 00:00
Eva Herrmannová

Opera Is My Love
Allow us to introduce another personality, the former director of Opera of the National Theatre, Mrs. Eva Herrmannová. Born in Vienna (July 22, 1929), she spent her childhood in Slezská Opava. She comes from the family of Jewish textile merchant Erwin Herrmann and Viennese singer Katarina Junkerová.

She started school in Opava. Her hobby was playing the piano under the guidance of her teacher Theresie Trösterová. Eva likes reminiscing about holidays with her parents in Austrian spas or trips around Opava. Early September 1938 the whole family moved to Prostějov, where not even ten-year old Eva had to face up to the occupation rules imposed on children of mixed marriages. After the fi fth class she passed an exam for a grammar school. However, an offi cial envelope said diff erently. Study was not allowed, nor was her participation in the Sokol (sports organisation). Her father had to declare movable and immovable property, which was soon confi scated. Although her mother was capable of proving her “Aryan” origin (four generations back), Eva was caught up in the measures relating to half-Jews.
Eva, at less than 14 years old, (June 9, 1943) had to report for transportation to the Terezín ghetto. Immediately afterwards, her mother went to Prague to ask the Gestapo to intervene for her daughter – she was told that Eva would not be sent further on from Terezín. Only after the war did her mother discover that this meant at least a small chance of survival. Later her mother succeeded, thanks to her acquaintance with doctors, in saving her husband sent to a concentration camp.
In Terezín Eva together with 30 other girls was placed in house No. L 414. Most of the time she worked in fi elds, and in any spare time she sang, for example in a children’s operatic choir. The ghetto administration placed Eva in the position of an assistant in prisoner transportation.
She wore a blue arm band and as she now recollects she used to make similar bands with prints from potatoes, thus helping her friends to meet their loved ones before being transported. In early spring 1945 she was helping people who were coming to Terezín in overcrowded trains or on foot in the death marches from Auschwitz. The wagons were a ghastly sight, very often carrying more dead than living…
Early May, the Gestapo fl ed Terezín and the Red Cross took over the Ghetto and the Small Fortress administration. On May 8, the Red Army passed through Terezín towards Prague. Although Terezín was closed off for reasons of typhus infection, Eva and some of her friends quickly decided to leave. The journey to Prostějov, where she arrived on May 13, took three days and two nights.
After the war she passed the external school leaving examination at Opava grammar school and decided to study music science at the Charles University in Prague. She married a Russian immigrant, with whom she had son Michal and daughter Alexandra. After graduation she started work in the Theatre Institute, where she and her colleagues founded the music and drama department, which she later headed. She received recognition at home and abroad, mainly in the fi eld of opera stage management. From 1991 to 1995 she was director of Opera of the National Theatre. To this day she works on the Committee of Terezín Initiative and is the Chairwoman of the opera jury for the Thálie Award. She has four granddaughters Klára, Andulka, Natálka and Sára. Smiling, she adds she is waiting for a grandson.

Luděk Sládek

Památník Terezín
Principova alej 304, 411 55 Terezín
Tel.: +420 416 782 225, 416 782 442, 416 782 131
GSM: +420 604 241 179, 606 632 914
E-mail: pamatnik@pamatnik-terezin.cz

Photos of parents before the war Baby Eve Obrázek č.3 Eva second from left In Austrian Spa Obrázek č.6 After the return from Terezín Obrázek č.8 Herrmann & Vogel department store – Opava Herrmann & Vogel department store – Opava Granddaughters Granddaughters Granddaughters Obrázek č.14 Obrázek č.15

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