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Zebra push puppet made by a former Jewish Czech camp inmate

Object | Accession Number: 1989.303.20

Wooden push puppet toy zebra, a type of toy known as a wakouwa, made by Jiri Lauscher after the war and given to his cousins Charles (Karel) and Hana Bruml. When Jiri, his wife, and daughter Michaela, 5, arrived at Theresiensradt ghetto-labor camp in December 1942, Jiri was asked his profession. Michaela had brought Pluto, her push puppet dog, which Jiri had made in the carpenter's workshop where he worked after being fired from his previous job for being Jewish. This proof of his useful skills helped make sure the family got sent to Theresienstadt, and not deported east. Jiri and Karel were assigned to the camp technical department. Jiri and the Bruml's were from Prague which, in March 1939, was annexed by Nazi Germany. In December 1942, Jiri, his wife Irma, and Michaela were sent to Theresienstadt and remained there until liberation in early May 1945. Most of their relatives were killed in German concentration camps. Karel, 29, was sent to the camp in December 1941 with his parents, Jindrich and Irma, sister Anna, and brother Otto and his wife. On January 11, 1942, Karel volunteered to be deported with his parents and sister. They were sent to Auschwitz; his family was killed and Karel was marched to Auschwitz III-Monowitz (Buna). In January 1945, Karel was sent to Gleiwitz, Dora-Mittelbau, and Bergen-Belsen where he was liberated on April 15. Hana, 20, and her first husband Rudolf Schiff were sent to Terezin in August 1942. Rudolf was deported to Auschwitz in December 1943 and killed. In October 1944, Hana was deported to Auschwitz, and then sent to Kudowa-Sackisch slave labor camp where she was liberated in April 1945. Hana and Karel met in postwar Prague while searching for news of their families. They found few survivors. Karel and Hana left for the United States in 1946, where they married.

creation:  after 1945 May
received: Prague (Czech Republic)
Wooden toys
Object Type
Wooden toys (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Charles and Hana Bruml
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:06:08
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