Oral History Interview with Eva Burns

Eva Burns, nee Gerstl, was born in 1924 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where her father was a pediatrician and her mother a concert pianist. They lived a mostly secular life with some inter¬ marriages in her mother's family. The German takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1939 drastically affected their lives with her brother being sent to Kladno and the rest of the family to Theresienstadt. She refers to help from non-Jews. She was deported to Theresienstadt November 17, 1942. She describes Theresienstadt as a "show" camp with books, a coffee house and concerts. Eva was part of a chorus preparing Verdi's Requiem and observed religious activities and humor.

She was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944 and six weeks later to Christianstadt, a women's labor camp. There she helped sabotage grenades in the ammu¬nition factory. She refers to the cruelty of the women S.S. guards. In February 1945 she es¬caped from a death march. Assuming a German identification, she worked in the Sudetenland until the spring of 1945 when she went to Prague where she worked for the family of an S.S. officer serving at the front. In May 1945, with the Czechoslovakian liberation near, she revealed her Czech identity. She married in November 1947 in Prague and immigrated to the USA in June 1948.

Date: 02/10/1980
Interviewer: Josey G. Fisher
Interviewee: Eva Burns
Language: English
Subject: Choruses--Czech Republic--Terezín (Ústecký kraj)
Concentration camp guards.
Death march survivors.
Death marches.
Forced labor.
Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives.
Interfaith marriage.
Jewish families--Czech Republic--Prague.
Jewish women in the Holocaust.
Jews--Czech Republic--Prague.
Passing (Identity)
Prisoners--Abuse of.
Weapons industry--Germany.
Women concentration camp inmates.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Czechoslovakia.
World War, 1939-1945--Jewish resistance--Poland.
Women--Personal narratives.
Kladno (Středočeský kraj, Czech Republic)
Prague (Czech Republic)
Sudetenland (Czech Republic)
Terezín (Ústecký kraj, Czech Republic)
Burns, Eva, 1924-
Auschwitz (Concentration camp)
Christianstadt (Concentration camp)
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei. Schutzstaffel.
Theresienstadt (Concentration camp)
Location: Prague, Czechia
Theresienstadt concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp
Christianstadt concentration camp
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