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Close-up portrait of Hela Wertheimer and her dog.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 75670

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    Close-up portrait of Hela Wertheimer and her dog.
    Close-up portrait of Hela Wertheimer and her dog.


    Close-up portrait of Hela Wertheimer and her dog.
    October 1927
    Znojmo, [Moravia; Brno] Czechoslovakia
    Variant Locale
    Czech Republic
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Chana Weingarten

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Chana Weingarten

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Chana Weingarten (originally Hanneliese Wertheimer) is the younger daughter of Fritz Wertheimer, born on May 1, 1894 and Lily Reich Wertheimer, b. June 21, 1901. Hanneliese (commonly called Hanka) was born on December 12, 1929 in Znojmo, Moravia in Czechoslovakia and her older sister, Miriam was born on May 13, 1926. Fritz Wertheimer owned a canning factory in town. Fritz and Lily Wertheimer were divorced. In September 1938 Hitler took over Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, and Znojmo became part of the German Reich. The factory driver drove Lily and her two daughters as well their housekeeper Mashka to Jihlava, where Lily's uncle: Richard Fishman lived. After two months they moved to Prostejov to Uncle Leo Reich, and Hanka, completed third grade of elementary school there. Lily Wertheimer lived in Brno, where she found a job as a teacher of German language in a Jewish Gymnasium. Fritz Wertheimer lived with his sisters in Brno as well. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1940 and deported to the Dachau concentration camp. Lily traveled constantly between Brno and Prague, taking diplomatic correspondence to and from different embassies. In November 1939 it became possible, probably with the help of her friend Dr. Hanna Steiner to send Miriam on Youth Aliyah to the Ben Shemen agricultural school in Palestine. After Miriam left, Lily and Hanka moved to Prague, where they lived in an apartment registered in the name of Mashka, who lived with them. Hanka started to attend the 4th grade of elementary school in a regular Czech school. The next school year (1940-1941) she attended Jewish school together with Eva Ginz and completed the 5th grade there. The following year, Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend school and instead were home schooled. In July 1942 Hanka and her Mom traveled to Prostejov to say goodbye to Lily's mother, Malvina Reich who was to be deported to Theresienstadt. They took off their yellow Stars of David for the train ride. At that time Lily already knew that Hanka's father Fritz, had died in Dachau in April 1942, but she didn't tell her daughter. After returning to Prague, Hanka was lonely, as most of the Jewish population already had been deported to Theresienstadt. In March 1943 Hanka and Lily Wertheimer were deported to Terezin. Upon arrival there Hanka was shocked to see her grandmother, Malvina Reich, lying on the floor of the barrack. Hanka lived with her mother for one month before moving to a "kinderheim," children's' barrack #28. In September 1943 Leo Reich, Lily's uncle, was deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was held together with 5,000 other prisoners in the so-called "family camp" and murdered after six months. Lily Wertheimer worked for the camp post office and Hanka was able to visit her every day. In May 1944 Hanka, her mother, her grandmother and a friend of the grandmother were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. They were placed in the camp B II b. After five or six weeks, a selection took place during which Hanka was separated from her mother, but the SS officer, ordered Lily to join her daughter. Malvina Reich and her friend were selected to be murdered. Hanka and Lily were quarantined for a few days and together with 500 Jewish women they were transported to the Hamburg port to work in the storehouses. Allied forces constantly bombed the port, and the slave laborers were told to hide together with their German guards. Most of them were elderly, as the younger men were at the front. The women had to build roads and clean rubble. From time to time one of the foremen gave Hanka a sandwich. In March 1945 Hanka and her Mom were transferred to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, and by the time the British Army liberated the camp in April 1945, Lily Wertheimer was desperately sick with typhus. She died on May 16, 1945 in Bergen Belsen. Hanka, whose weight was 35 kg returned alone to Prague, to the apartment which she shared with Mashka. She was very ill with tuberculosis and spent the next three years recovering in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. After her release, she returned to Prague and later traveled to Italy and in November 1949 Hanka Wertheimer immigrated to Israel. She settled in kibbutz Ha'Chotrim. In July 1951 Hanka married Abraham Weingarten, b. September 15, 1925 in Chelm, Poland. Abraham immigrated to Palestine in 1930. They have three sons: Benjamin, b. 1961 married to Susan; Daniel b. 1964 married to Fumi and Yonatan b. 1965, married to Vered. They have six grandchildren.
    Record last modified:
    2015-05-20 00:00:00
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