A memorial plaque commemorates 12-year-old Jewish girl Věra Kohnová, who became one of the victims of the Pilsen Holocaust during World War II. The girl’s appearance was not preserved, only the diary she wrote six months before her forced departure for Terezín remained. Over ninety pages, it captures the last months of the life of the Jewish inhabitants of Pilsen before being transported to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Thanks to the daily, Věra Kohnová is compared to the most well-known Jewish daily of the daily, Anna Franková.
By January of this year, it had been 80 years since more than 2,600 Jewish men, women and children had left Pilsen in three transports R, S and T. Only more than 200 of them survived the war. The Kohns left for Terezín on January 22, 1942 in the transport from S. Věra. They continued to the ghetto of Izbica, Poland. The whole family was apparently executed there shortly after his arrival.
Crowds of onlookers watched as hundreds of Pilsen Jews marched past the station, where a train was waiting to take them to Terezín. Nearly half of them then continued to the ghettos on Polish territory. They were to arrive at the meeting place at…
The W21 association wanted to collect the 70,000 crowns needed for the bronze commemorative plaque during a campaign on the donor’s internet portal. “We managed to raise funds before the end of the campaign, in the end more than 79,000 crowns were collected, about 120 people contributed. The city of Pilsen and the central district also contributed to the record, “ she says Jana Poncarovawriter from Pilsen and president of the W21 association, which sought to create a commemorative plaque.
A plaque by the Pilsen artist Jan Vlček depicts a girl with a newspaper. The girl has no obvious facial features, because according to Poncarová, no photograph has been preserved that obviously depicts Věra Kohnová. “All we know is that she wore two ponytails because she was writing about herself in a diary.” she says. Also listed on the board are the years of birth and death of the girl and the years 1941 and 1942, when she wrote the diary.
“I think for Věra, writing a diary was, in a way, maybe therapy. She was very receptive and mature for her age, and the times she lived in probably contributed to that. In the diary, it captures the testimony of everyday life. What was happening around her. And you can see the transformation from a maybe even carefree girl to a girl who helps prepare people for transport, helps the elderly to packing, etc.” described by Poncar.
His great-grandmother Marie Kalivodová from Dobřiv in the Rokycany region kept the diary for decades. Before leaving for transportation, Věra kept a diary of Kalivod’s family friends. The communist regime also survived the war with them – in the library, among other books. Priest Miroslav Matouš was responsible for editing the diary book in 2006.
The memorial plaque was unveiled by Jana Hůlková from the village of Melmatěj u Dobříva, the daughter of Marie Kalivodová, who hid the diary. She read in Věra Kohnová’s diary when she was a child. “I was a little less than Verka when I discovered his diary in my adoptive father’s library. The parents weren’t at home then. I started in him and when I told my mother, she said to me: ‘It’s Věrušky, she should have come back for him, but he won’t come back.’ The more I gravitated towards the newspaper. I went back to him when I was the worst and I I said, “Actually, I’m alive and she’s not poor. I can memorize it and every mention of him is very emotional for me. When Janička Poncarová sent me a memorial plaque, I told her that this was exactly how I imagined Věra. This plaque is a keepsake for all children who died in war.” she confided Jana Hulkova.
“In the current situation, when we are already perceiving the influx of war refugees from Ukraine to Pilsen, it is necessary to remember similar specific historical events that led to the death of a young person and to realize this who preceded them. Perhaps even thanks to recalls like Věra Kohnová, similar things will happen as little as possible”, wished the mayor of the city of Pilsen Pavel Šindelař (ODS). His deputy Michal Vozobule (TOP09) said, among other things, that it is necessary to commemorate great historical events even through individual destinies. “You have to keep them in mind. I think that because we have them in mind, we were all able to react so quickly and offer help to Ukraine and its people.” he noted Michal Vozobule.
The former mayor of Pilsen and the Minister of Culture also took part in the memorial service Martin Baxawhich stated in particular: “She was eleven or twelve years old when she wrote the diary. However, the beautiful age of late childhood was framed by the horrors that took place at that time. By most accounts of the Holocaust, we know the end – the extermination camps, but the months and years before that, when our Jewish compatriots were progressively discriminated against in a very deliberate and uncompromising way and excluded from public life, are not ours so well known. . Even through his diary, one wonders who all of the people were who made this possible. His diary may seem like a memory to us. The fight for freedom never stops.”
Mayor of the city’s third arrondissement David Prochazka Noted: “In Věrčina’s diary, I think the stories where friends and neighbors start to turn away from each other are also important. He hopes it will never happen again, whether it’s for Hitler or Putin or for d other so-called elites.
The girl wrote her diary from August 1941 to January 1942. “It just came to our knowledge at that time. We all have to pack our bags….I haven’t had much of a great year, but how I would love to stay” Twelve-year-old Věra wrote the last entry on January 15, 1942.