published: 29.10.2012, 11:36 | updated: 29.10.2012 11:40:03
Prague/Jerusalem - Twenty Czech Jewish Holocaust survivors met and remembered their war-time fates at an event organised by Judita Matyasova, from the Prague Military History Institute, in Israel today.
In 1939, a group of 150 Jewish children were passed to foster families in Denmark, where they escaped the Holocaust.
The people who did not see one another for over 70 years now live in Britain, Canada, South Africa and the USA.
They met in the Israeli small town of Neve Ilan near Jerusalem.
Along with them, the meeting was attended by their relatives including their grandchildren some of whom learnt for the first time about their Czech roots.
The Danish foster parents accepted 150 Czech Jewish children aged 14-16 years in 1939.
Some two years later, roughly 20 of them managed to move to the former Palestine, while the rest had to escape to Sweden in 1943.
The participants in the meeting, attended not only by representatives of the Czech, but also Danish and Swedish embassies as well as the Yad Vashem memorial, spoke excellent Czech.
The date of the meeting, the Czech national holiday that marks the 1918 establishment of Czechoslovakia, is still a major event relating to their former homeland.
Matyasova has been examining the fates of the group since last year, publishing the results of her studies in the Czech and foreign press and informing the Yad Vashem memorial.
"It is a story of the parents who were not afraid to send their children abroad, of the solidarity of Danish and Swedish families who helped the Czech children selflessly," Matyasova said.
A book is to appear on the group next year and Slovak film maker Peter Kerekes is shooting a documentary on it.
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