Helga Weissová-Hošková

31.10.2008 | 09:44
Helga Weissová-Hošková

Two lives, or draw what you see
Helga, the daughter of Irena and Otta Weiss, was born in Prague, on November 10, 1929. Her father (1898–1944) came from Pardubice, and mother, neé Fuchsová (1906– 1990), from Prague.

Little Helga had a happy childhood, and as she remembers today, her best memories are from trips with her parents to Sázava, near Zbořený Kostelec castle ruins.
The irony of the fate is that she was born exactly one day after the “Crystal Night” (Nov 9, 1938, anti-Jewish pogrom in Germany), only several years earlier. When she was ten, Czech lands were occupied and Nazism took its rule with its “new orders”. Because of her non-Aryan origin, she had to finish her education immediatelly, and because there was no place in the only Jewish school, she was visiting one of the many private clubs that were organized for Jewish children. At the end of 1941, she was at the age of 12, the order came to transport her whole family to Terezín (Dec 7). The first part of Helga’s life had come to an end.
In Terezín she was placed to the girls’ home, at the barack No 24. Because she loved painting since she was a young girl, she took with her some crayons, watercolours and papers, and continued painting. One day before Christmas she sent to her father a picture of a snowman. After some time she got an answer from him: “Go on painting what you see!” Her paintings survived the concentration camp, thanks to her uncle Josef Polák, who managed to hide them in walls.
Helga spent in Terezín three years and in October 1944 was transported to Auschwitz. Here she was extremely lucky. She was among 99 girls chosen for work in Germany, even though she was under their age. She worked then in an aircraft factory, waiting for the end of the war. In April 1945 Helga underwent sixteen-daylong ‚death march‘ from Freiberg to the concentration camp in Mauthausen. Here she survived with her mother until the liberation by Americans.
Return to Prague was short and hopeful. They hoped that her father would come back, too. They were waiting very long time, but in vain. After the war she graduated from grammar school, and a school for graphic designers too. She was shortly also a pupil of professor Emil Filla. She married a famous bassist of the Czech Radio Symphonic Orchestra Jiří Hošek, they had a daughter Kateřina and a son Jiří who takes after his father. He is a violoncellist and Associated Professor at Academy of Performing Arts. The daughter of Jiří, Dominika, is a promising cellist and currently studies in Israel.
Helga has never stopped painting. Her paintings provoke deep thinking. In the sixties she painted a cycle “Calvary” where she coped with holocaust, then she received a scholar-ship in Israel where the cycle “Wandering around the Holy Land”. After her return home she worked at the Public School of Arts for fourteen years. You can see her pictures in many exhibitions all around this country.

Luděk Sládek


The Memorial of Terezín

www.pamatnik-terezin.cz


Parents Helga with parents With mother in winter In summer at Sázava Schoolgirl Helga Helga three days before her transportation to Terezín Helga Weissová-Hošková Letters from Terezín Letters from Terezín Memento With husband Jiří Memorial desk designed by Helga


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