Zdenka Fantlova on her Holocaust experience: "We all have a blueprint"
On Tuesday, Jewish communities in the Czech Republic are commemorating Yom ha Shoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day which is observed around the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. The names of Czech Holocaust victims will be read out during ceremonies in Prague and a former concentration camp in Terezin. Around 80,000 Czech Jews perished in the Holocaust, among them the whole family of Zdenka Fantlova, who was herself imprisoned in several concentration camps: Terezin, Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen and Mauthausen until she was liberated from Bergen-Belsen. Here she recalls what followed after the war broke out and that it was sometimes little things that saved people's lives.
"Little did I know that five years later in Bergen-Belsen I would be able to communicate in English with a member of the British Army who saved my life in the nick of time, the last minute before my death. So, you see there are little things in life which determine... I sort of feel that we have a blueprint, we work on a blueprint. Maybe we think we have free will - maybe we have. But somehow I feel it is like skiing slalom from stick to stick and you decide I'm not going to do this stick. But it doesn't matter. You have the start, you have the finish. And that's fate. And nobody will talk me out of it."
Zdenka Fantlova later moved to Australia and Britain where she lives now. She also wrote a book about her experience entitled "My Lucky Star" after the song by Fred Astaire. You will be able to hear the complete interview with Zdenka Fantlova in one of our future programmes.