Saturday, July 7, 2012

Jitka Mlsova Chmelikova

I had stopped posting on the blog because I felt that revisiting the past was not important and of little value.  However, who I have become, my quirks, my lack of self-confidence, and all of my life experiences made me who I am and they are all related to the past.  I was raised by a mother that never reconciled with the 8 year old girl, raised by a loving nanny, who had to leave behind everything she knew, everything she was, to become someone else.  She left behind a grandfather she adored, a lifestyle, a language, and even an identity. 
Secrets shaped my existence.  I couldn’t explain to people who would see on my mother’s papers that she was born in CZ why she spoke only German as a second language. She would not translate for others, saying that she knew little German, yet when she visited her parents, she spoke German to them.  (Especially when they were talking about Christmas presents to buy for the grandchildren. Maddening to know people are talking about you, plotting and planning, and you don’t have a clue what  your Christmas surprise is.)
My mother was a German Lutheran immigrant.  She attended the Lutheran church.  Married in the Lutheran church, raised her children in the Lutheran church. Sometimes Oma would be there, never Opa.

Jitka Chmelikova's book on the Jews of Eger/Cheb helped me understand some of the dynamics of my family life.  She contacted me on  February 14, 2011 because an Internet search led her to my blog. I had tried to translate her book using Google translator.  I am rereading her e-mails and am correcting some of my assumptions and expanding my knowledge.
Ms. Chmelikova's e-mails:
“You know, your family was very special in Cheb. Eduard Löwy was not a rabbi. He was head of the Jewish community. I met his granddaughter Lilly Pavlova. She was daughter of Hildegard Löwy sister of Fritz, Paul and Trude.
Lilly wrote wonderful memoirs about her life and also a lot about her grandfather Eduard. We met 1998, but she died one year later. She emigrated with her brother Heinrich and aunt Trude to England. Lilly was the only one who came back to Czechoslovakia after the war, because she maried Czech soldier Josef Pavel.
Her daughter in law lives still in Prague. I have Lillys memoirs in Czech, but I am sure, she wrote them also in English for her relatives in England. Let me check this.”

“There is a project in Cheb right now. There are 950 years since the town was first time mentioned in a written document and they are preparing an exhibition 950 years - 950 fates. I am working on some biographies - there will be for sure Eduard Löwy, Paul Löwy and hopefuly also Lilly. I was always very interested what happend with Fritz. I knew just from Lilly he emigrated to the USA, but it was all I knew.”

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