Klepy [Gossip] - an epic tale of *holocaust ephemera survival* #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

As readers of this SIG know, I do not find it hard to
write postings on a wide variety of subjects. I have
just written about postcards that have survived the
holocaust and here is an epic tale of *holocaust
ephemera survival* >from Bohemia.

There is one subject which I knew I had to write about
but which I keep putting off. The reason is quite
simple - it concerns a member of our SIG, John Freund
of Toronto. I have not met John personally, but he
made a great effort to deliver a book "The Underground
Reporters" [Kathy Kacer, Second Story Press 2004 ISBN
1-896764-85-1] to my son in NY six weeks ago.

When a "children's"? book receives a glowing review
from a historian of the stature of Sir Martin Gilbert*
who wrote to John and described the book as "one of
the most powerful books I have read on the Holocaust
and beautifully written" we definitely have to sit up
and take notice.

I used inverted commas advisedly, as I do not consider
this to be a book solely for children. The book
concerns John and his childhood friends in Ceske
Budejovice [Budweis], Bohemia. John survived the
holocaust but his parents Dr Gustav and Irma FREUND
and brother Karel tragically did not. John was one of
the few survivors of this town. John's experiences
were horrendous - he was a messenger boy for Dr
Mengele. Need I say more?

The book is about 22 editions of a newspaper, Klepy,
that the youngsters of Budejovice wrote before they
were deported. Klepy is one of the few Czech words I
now know - it means *gossip*. This is not just an
ordinary newspaper; it was very professionally edited
by a team of handsome teenagers: Ruda STADLER, Karli
HIRSCH, Rudi FURTH and Jiri FURTH. They were
desperate that Klepy survives and hid the complete
bundle with a friendly Christian housekeeper, Thereza.
After the war she returned them to survivor, Irene
STADLER [Ruda's sister]. In 1989, after an absence
of 41 years, John Freund returned to Bohemia and
visited Irene in Prague. He found that all 22 issues
of Klepy had miraculously survived.

This is what I wrote to John and I reproduce it with
his permission: " So tragic, yet so triumphant. It is
true that books can be burnt but the letters live on
and here the "books" have also miraculously survived
and the "letters" are a testimony to the wonderful
young people who helped create **KLEPY** and
who never came back.

And you were there as a sort of "guardian angel" to
help bring them back to life.

They are now not forgotten and they will remain in our
minds, always, as creative and fulfilled lives ..very
short, but nevertheless fulfilled. After all, there
are many people who live a full life span and really
leave very little behind.

All your friends would be chuckling and laughing if
they knew what their newspaper had achieved. What
more can I say as the tears roll down my face?"

Celia Male [UK]

* References

1. Martin Gilbert: enter his name in your browser.
Martin Gilbert is professor of Holocaust Studies at
University College, London. He is the author of many
books, including Final Journey, The Holocaust: The
Jewish Tragedy; & Atlas of the Holocaust.

2. The Underground Reporters [nb long url]
http://www.secondstorypress.on.ca/youngadult/
underground/underground.html

3. John Freund
http://www.cet.ac.il/terezin/f-eng4.htm

4. Mengele messengers - see also
http://www.qmag.org/ideart00.html
and one long url
http://chs.cusd.claremont.edu/~corchard/report/mengele
story.html

5. Klepy is now kept by the Jewish Museum Prague

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