Oral History

Hana Mueller Bruml recalls the occupation of Prague

In 1942, Hana was confined with other Jews to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where she worked as a nurse. There, amid epidemics and poverty, residents held operas, debates, and poetry readings. In 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz. After a month there, she was sent to Sackisch, a Gross-Rosen subcamp, where she made airplane parts at forced labor. She was liberated in May 1945.


I remember the day they came. I remember the day I...I remember the place, the street where I stood, and it was snowing. It was a cold day and they were pulling in. I was by myself. I just walked there. It was not far, maybe three-quarters of a mile from where we lived, and we were uh uh watching them on their wagons with their tanks, with their half-trucks, with guns pointing to the rooftops. And it was snowing. And we knew that the screw is going to become tighter and tighter. Uh we knew what was happening in Austria but somehow we still had some foolish idea, we are in Czechoslovakia, because I remember so clearly when I was about eleven or twelve, I read a book about the Marranos. These were the uh Jews in Spain who during the Inquisition had a choice either to give up their religion or be converted to Catholicism, and many of them became converted only in a name, and still celebrated secretly all the Jewish holidays. And uh this was a very interesting story about the Inquisitor, et cetera. And I remember--you know, the kind of vignettes one remember from childhood--and I remember telling my grandmother, "Aren't we fortunate that we live in the twentieth century in Czechoslovakia, that such a thing cannot happen to us."


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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