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Centropa Stories

Centropa Stories

Author: Centropa

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Jewish Witness to a European Century
55 Episodes
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Episode 1: They were 13 and 14-year-old boys imprisoned in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) Ghetto and only a handful would survive the Holocaust. But these teenagers fought back with everything they had: determination, ethics, and moral courage. Every Friday night, they would take turns reading from their own secret magazine, Vedem (Czech for In The Lead) which was filled with poetry, essays, and humor. Petr Ginz (1928-1944) was Vedem’s driving force and in this documentary, you’ll hear six actors tell the story of Vedem, and how Petr and his friends have left us with a legacy of life.
S9E5: Ludmila Rutarova

S9E5: Ludmila Rutarova

2024-01-1012:46

Ludmila Weinerova grew up in Prague and was deported to Terezin with her parents and brothers when she was 22 years old. Ludmila paints a vivid picture of what life was like in the ghetto: grim and frightening on the one hand, but on the other, she performed in operas and in choirs that the prisoners performed. Lubmila Rutarova was interviewed by Daniela Greslova in Prague in 2007.
S9E4: Alena Munkova

S9E4: Alena Munkova

2024-01-1012:35

Born into a completely assimilated home in Prague, Alena Synkova didn’t understand what it meant to be Jewish until Germany’s invasion and occupation. Her mother died young, her father was sent off to his death, Alena was called up for a transport to Terezin and her brother fled to the resistance. Alena spent three years in Terezin and after the war became a well known poet, journalist and screenwriter. Alena Munkova was interviewed by Zuzana Strouhova in Prague in 2005 and 2006 narrated by Shelley Blond
S9E3: Antonie Militka

S9E3: Antonie Militka

2024-01-0912:56

Antonie grew up in Brno, where her family lived on the grounds of the Jewish community’s sports club. When the deportations began, her 12 year old brother went into hiding, her father was taken into forced labor, and Antonie, 16 years old, looked after her mother in Terezin. A story of incredible bravery, heartbreak and commitment. Antonie Militka was interviewed by Barbara Pokreis in Brno in 2004 narrated by Jilly Bond
S9E2: Jan Fischer

S9E2: Jan Fischer

2024-01-0915:22

Jan Fischer, who became one of Prague’s most creative postwar theatre directors and memoirists, fell in love with the stage while a prisoner in Terezin. He and his fellow cellmates performed dramas, musicals and comedies, until one by one, they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. A compelling story of tragedy and resilience. Jan Fischer was interviewed by Silvia Singerova in Prague in 2003 narrated by Peter Moreton
Edward Serotta's introduction to the Centropa Podcast Season about Terezin.
When Nazi Germany occupied Austria, over 110,000 Jews managed to flee. The Luster family, Moses and Golda, and their 14 year old son Leo, could not find a way out. Leo would endure nearly seven years of hell—in Theresienstadt, in Auschwitz, and in work camps in Germany. His story is read to us by Henry Goodman in London.
Jozef trained as a barber and as someone who could repair fountain pens. Those skills first saved his life and brought him into direct contact with Nazi officers in Auschwitz—and led him to testify against them in nearly a dozen postwar trials. His story is read to us by Steve Furst in London.
In March 1939, Nazi Germany occupied the Czech regions of Bohemia and Moravia. Pavel’s family was called for a transport to Terezin in 1944. Two years later, they were told they would be sent to “the east.” That meant Auschwitz. Pavel Werner story is read to us by Elliot Levey in London.
Katarina Vidor grew up comfortably middle class in Bratislava. She worked in an accounting office and spoke four languages. She loved playing tennis and water skiing with friends on the Adriatic. She had recently married and her parents lived nearby. Then the war came. Her story is read for us by Jan Goodman in London.
She grew up in a well-to-do family in Budapest, married in 1928, and doted on her only child, Erwin while running three hat shops with her husband. Then the entire family descended into hell. Her story is read to us by Tina Gray.
Auschwitz-Birkenau. the ultimate symbol of the Holocaust, where more than a million Jews were murdered. Of the 1,230 elderly Jews we interviewed between 2000 and 2009, nearly 100 managed to survive this hell on Earth—some to be sent on to even worse places. We present excerpts from five of those interviews, one each from Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia and Poland.
Mirou-Mairy Karasso was born in 1921, the oldest five children. She grew up wealthy and sheltered until she and her brother Albert, hiding with false papers, boarded a bus for Athens. The rest of the family fled to the mountains. A heartbreaking story of loss. Interviewed by Nina Hatzi in Athens in 2006 narrated by Jeni Barnet
S6E3: Lily Arouch

S6E3: Lily Arouch

2023-10-0915:33

Lily Pardo and her three sisters lived on Tsimiski Street and their father’s store was just down the block. And when the Germans began deporting tens of thousands of Jews, their fathers’ friend would hide them in his flat—for 18 months. Interviewed by Annita Mordechai in Athens in 2006. Narrated by Jilly Bond.
S6E2: Alberto Beraha

S6E2: Alberto Beraha

2023-10-0916:32

narrated by Allan Corduner Alberto Beraha’s father was a currency trader, his mother taught French. The family escaped during the deportations, and Alberto tells of hiding in a mountain village, where he listened to BBC broadcasts on a hidden radio, and translated the news for the villagers protecting him and his father. Interviewed by Annita Mordechai in Athens in 2007.
narrated by Annita Mordechai I grew up Jewish and Greek, the granddaughter of a woman who survived the Holocaust hiding with her parents and sisters in a friend’s apartment. In 2005, I joined a team of Centropa interviewers led by the historian Rena Molho and our goal was to ask elderly Jews born in Thessaloniki to share with us their personal stories—from the 1920s until the early 2000s. We highlight three of those interviews in this podcast season and you can find links to the interviews, as well as book recommendations, in the shownotes. Thanks for listening
A story of horror and resilience Anna Rottenberg, born in 1915 in Lodz, grew up in a wealthy orthodox family. She broke away to study child psychology in Warsaw and when war came, she escaped, but went into the Warsaw Ghetto to try and save her family. Anna describes scenes of unimaginable horror, and how she married resistance fighter Eduard Lanota. Together they fought  the Germans in the August, 1944 uprising. Eduard was killed. Eight months later, Anna delivered their baby. Anna went on to become one of Poland’s leading magazine editors and taught child psychology well into her 80s. Read for you by Sara Kestelman in London. Produced by Oleh Teteriatnyk. Interview with Anna Lanota by Alexandra Bankowska
Kirkus Review called Götz and Meyer “brilliantly disturbing” and The  Guardian called it “unimprovable.” In this short (168 page) stream of  consciousness work of fiction, a school teacher in Belgrade muses—and  practically hallucinates—as he wonders just what the two SS men who  drove the infamous gas van talked about all day. The fact that both  Breda and Matilda Kalef watched their father and grandmother being  loaded into this van makes it all the more harrowing. We have chosen an  excerpt from Götz and Meyer, which is read by Allan Corduner, an actor  with more than 140 screen credits, including Tar, Defiance, The Woman in  Gold, The Merchant of Venice and Operation Finale. narrated by: Allan Corduner
S4E4: Breda Kalef

S4E4: Breda Kalef

2023-01-3110:03

She was born with the name Ruchel Kalef. During the war, Father Andrej  Tumpej gave her a name to hide behind: Breda. After the war, Ruchel  decided, “He gave me more than a name. He gave me a life.” Thanks to  Breda, Father Tumpej is now listed as a Righteous Among the Nations.  Breda became one of Yugoslavia’s best known mezzo-sopranos. Jane Bertish  has appeared on stage in London performing George Bernard Shaw and  Tennessee Williams. Her television credits include Rosemary’s Baby and  most recently, Ted Lasso. narrated by Jane Bertish
S4E3: Matilda Kalef

S4E3: Matilda Kalef

2023-01-3112:20

Rachel  Chanin interviewed Matilda Kalef-Cerge for us 2002, and we have  remained in touch Matilda, who recalls both an idyllic childhood in a  wealthy Sephardic family, and how she, her mother and sister managed to  survive during the Holocaust. Read by Sara Kestelman, whose screen and  stage credits include the works of Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Gorky and  Marlowe, not to mention Star Wars. Excerpt from Leigh White’s The Long Balkan Night read by Nate Kelderman of Carnegie Mellon University
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