Remembering Alice GUTTMANN of Tabor. #austria-czech


michal <mbeer@...>
 

When I read Celia Males` account of the GUTTMANN
families of Tabor, I immediately thought of Alice
GUTTMANN >from Tabor [dob 19 September 1928] and her family.
Alice was my bunk fellow for a few months in
the ghetto of Theresienstadt. Alice was a talented
painter and some of her paintings are in the Jewish
Museum in Prague, Jachymova Street 3.

Like most others, she did not survive. Together with
her mother, Emilie [dob 2.5.1906] she was sent to
Auschwitz on 6.9.1943. All people on that transport
Dl, except medical personal and twins perished.

I have written their testimonies on Yad vashem. They
are not linked on the database, but Celia has just
sent in a correction. Alice's father was probably
Karel GUTTMANN b. 20.6.1894, who died in the ghetto
6.1.1943. My father [Friedrich (Fritz) Stecklmacher,
7.12.1898 - 31.5.1943] although he was only 44, died
in Terezin/Theresienstadt too. He did not know it, but
his death probably saved the life of my mother, myself
and my younger sister.

I wrote a "short story" about Alice in 1986 called
"Blood and Bread".

The title can be understood if you realise that
parents sometimes gave blood transfusions to their
children to help them survive the polio epidemic.

In the Girls' Home L410 there was an infirmary - Dr
STERN and Dr FISCHER worked there and there were a few
nurses too. They took blood >from the parents' vein and
it was injected into the children's muscles. Here is
the story which shows the sacrifices the parents made
for the sake of their children:

Ghetto Terezin was frightfully overcrowded. Despite
all possible efforts, it was difficult to maintain
proper hygiene. We shared our lodgings with bed bugs,
fleas and lice of every kind. We were undernourished
and suffered >from numerous diseases - scarlet fever
and T.B., various sorts of typhus and polio too. The
health committee of the ghetto decided that the best
way to defend children against polio infection was to
arrange a blood transfusion >from a parent, hoping that
the adult's immunity would thus be passed on to the
child.

At that time my bunk neighbour was Alice GUTTMANN, a
pale thin and delicate girl. Both of us no longer had
a father.

Alice and I saved up some margarine and this we mixed
with a little dehydrated soup powder we got somehow,
into a spread of sorts. Each of us contributed a slice
of bread and after receiving the vital blood
transfusion >from our mothers, we served them the two
"buttered" slices nicely arranged on a makeshift
platter, as a token of gratitude.

It was not easy to persuade them to accept this
gesture, but we persisted and felt wonderful watching
our ever-hungry mothers eat with much appetite.

Maud Michal Beer [Israel]

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