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

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

I am resubmitting this posting as I made two errors in
it which I would not wish to be perpetuated {like
classic textbook errors which are carried through
generations}. As this posting is so important
historically and we have no idea what will happen to
our Bohemia-Moravia/Austria-Czech SIG message archive
in the future - I would like this version to be the
final one. Unless of course we make more exciting
discoveries in the future.

As readers of this Special Interest Group [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 he has read on the Holocaust
and beautifully written .. we definitely have to sit
up and take notice.

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
Erna FREUND [nee JUNG] and brother Karel tragically
did not. John was one of the few survivors of this
town. John's experiences were horrendous - he met
Mengele once, on 6 July 1944, at the selection process
and knew some of the messenger boys for the infamous
Doctor. Thirty four Birkenau Boys still survive,
spread throughout the world. John keeps in touch with
them.

The book is about the 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.

Another exciting discovery is that Maud Michal BEER
[STECKELMACHER], an Israeli member of our SIG,
also knew Irene STADLER who was her beloved
Betreuerin [House mother] in the girls' home L410 in
Theresienstadt. Maud also visited Irene in Prague.

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. Maud BEER STECKELMACHER
http://www.cet.ac.il/terezin/d-k1g.htm

6. Klepy is now kept by the Jewish Museum Prague

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