“It’s probably the greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life. I don’t know how I deserve it, because my love or my check seems so normal to me, should I get an award for that?” Almost ninety-three-year-old Erbenova told iDNES.cz after receiving Gratias. agit award from Foreign Minister Lipovsky.
Erbenova has lived in Israel for over seventy years, moving there after World War II after surviving the Holocaust. Even after all these years she says she is a Czech living in Israel, not an Israeli. He arrived on a repatriation flight to the Czech Republic last week.
“They called me to come to the airport in two hours. I told them it was difficult. “I had vanilla rolls in the oven because it was my son’s birthday and mine,” she says, describing the circumstances of her return. She finally flew to the Czech Republic and took part in drumming at the Drums Remembrance event last weekend.
“When atrocities happen, the world must cry”
Erbenova received the award for spreading the good name of the Czech Republic in Israel. Currently, she is one of the most active Holocaust survivors who openly shares her life story. He writes books about his experiences in concentration camps and lectures to students in schools.
During the story, he mainly emphasizes that students know that everything in life is impermanent and that a person does not choose where they are born. According to her, enough is generally known about the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
“Otherwise we wouldn’t have left Czechoslovakia. My great-grandfather, grandfather, they were factory workers, we did well, we had a beautiful life. I never met anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia. We were not poor, everything was organized, nice and smooth, and it is still today. I live like that. , that’s what I brought to Israel,” Erbenova recalled.
In retrospect, she regrets that the information available today shows that the world knew about Germany’s atrocities in the concentration camps. But for her, the biggest problem is his silence.
“When there was Auschwitz, the Pope knew about it, everybody knew, even in America. Roosevelt knew about the existence of the camps. When I look back at history, I don’t understand how it really was, how it was possible for them to let six million (Jews) of us die. ” thinks the laureate.
Erbenova feels a clear parallel between the current situation in Israel and what Jews experienced during Nazism.
“Now people go to graves and lay wreaths and put crosses on funerals and cry. Not like that. Now, when atrocities happen, the world should cry. Now they are killing themselves like Hamas is killing them. And I’m not saying they are all Arabs, because Arabs are too. Humans, not every Arab is a terrorist, even if every terrorist is an Arab,” he comments on the situation in Israel.
Israel is moving in a different direction than we expected after the war
When she first learned of the Hamas attack on Israel, she was furious. He said it was incomprehensible how the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could ignore warnings of a possible attack against Israel, known for its strict security measures.
The unstable situation in the Israeli government is also the reason for this situation. According to Erbenova, they are currently mainly protecting their own interests, not the interests of the state, and such people, according to him, should not be in the leadership of Israel. He also emphasizes that government and religion should be two separate things.
“Israel needs to be put back in the hands of responsible people. These people were talking irresponsibly. Orthodox Jews are going into Arab villages and causing chaos, burning olive trees and so on, and the government is not punishing them because these people are voters of the current government,” he continues.
He says that today’s Israel is somewhat out of control and is not moving in the direction people expected after the war. “You can’t expect God to come as a messiah and save everybody,” he says.
“Israel must return to the old ways we started, and in 75 years we built the modern Israel you all want,” Erbenova added.
Gratias agit laureates
Stanislav Prusek (Czech Republic) – Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Department of Mobility and Migration
Alessandro Catalano (Italy) – Bohemian, university teacher, teacher and translator
Eva Erbenova (Israel) – Writer, Holocaust survivor
Sabine Krusha (Germany) – Founder of the Association “German Friends and Supporters of the Olga Havel Foundation”
David Harris (USA) – CEO of the American Jewish Council from 1990 to 2022 (he will receive the award at the Czech Embassy in Washington)
John Marek (Great Britain) – Cardiologist
Tomáš Řízek (Taiwan) – Illustrator, graphic artist, painter and publisher
Jana Sommerlad (Great Britain) – Author
The award was received by Josef Balazs from the Foreigners Association from the Minister for European Affairs, Martin Dvorak. Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Society (USA).