Vzpomínky na židovské rodiny

Usov: Recollections - Jewish Families


My memories of Polak go back to when he was still a boy. I remember while racing on a bicycle in Pancava he killed our goose. I also remember that he was dating the wood ranger's daughter Greta Baberecky. They would look for privacy in the middle of a big haystack and when he noticed that we were spying on them, he chased after us.
Jan Motlicek, Usov

Valerie and Ruzena were stepsisters and together they operated a small textile store in Usov. They also sewed clothing for babies. At that time factory made clothing for babies was not sold in stores. Before the war they were thinking about emigrating, but finally they decided to stay because they didn't want to leave their sick father. Before the occupation of Sudetenland they moved to Olomouc, where they hoped to be safe. They lived in a brickyard in Bystrovany, but their hope and wish did not come true. Mr. Pollak fortunately did not live long enough to be transported to a concentration camp, as he died in 1941. Valerie and Ruzena were shipped to a concentration camp and they were both shot in 1942 during the mass execution in Baranovici near Minsk. Their sister Marie who worked as a governess in Budapest, and their brother Gerhard who worked as an electrician in Roudnice, also perished during the Holocaust. Their brother Artur Polak was the only one who survived.
Olga Polakova, Olomouc

After the war Artur Polak regularly visited Usov on Saint Rochus Feast day. He probably never missed that day. I always saw him because he used to stop by my parents' house. He knew them very well. He was little older than I, but I went to a school with his sister (Ruzena) and his brother (Gerhard). Before the war a farmer named Klement was a good friend of the Pollaks. Klement supported their family and it did not matter to him that he was German and a devoted Catholic and that they were Jews. The Klements had their farmhouse in the town square. They were good Germans. However, after the war they had to leave Usov and were sent with others to Germany.
Gustav Gross, Mohelnice

He was thirty years old but he looked older and tired. He often walked in the Usov forests with a textbook and studied medicine. His dog always followed him. Arpad was very poor so he studied one year and the next year he had to work to raise money. That’s why it took him so long to finish his studies. Boys sometimes cried, “Arpad, Arpad”, when they saw him. Once I joined them. Then I felt ashamed and never did it again. When Arpad finally finished his studies, he made the critical mistake of opening his medical office in Usov, where he was not able to gain much prestige because everybody knew him as a poor fellow. He used to sit in front of his office in the town square and wait for patients. One day I went by and he told me, “Please come in I will give you a check-up”. He was a good man and he knew the Czech language very well, certainly best from all the Jews in Usov. I can see him in front of me even to this day.
Gustav Gross, Mohelnice


An older couple who owned a textile store in Usov. They had a good selection of clothing, which was made for them by homemakers from Usov. Customers from Usov and the surrounding villages shopped in the Schultz’s store, which was located in the town square. It was a well-known fact that they offered the best prices and they even sold their merchandise on loan. They sold to us on loan too. Schulz was good hearted and I think he lost lots of money because after the Germans closed their store, some people did not pay him back. After the arrival of Nazis I met Mr. and Mrs. Schulz on a road to a nearby village, near that place there is a pond now. They walked there quite often, because occasionally they got some help (food) from the villagers. At that time their area for walking was already restricted and they had to wear the Jewish star. I stopped to chat with them briefly, even though it was prohibited, but I was very nervous. I still blame myself for that.
Gustav Gross, Mohelnice


I have witnessed the Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) in the Usov synagogue. As a boy and I stood right there and watched it happen. The whole operation was conducted with the assistance of the German firefighters. They unrolled their hoses and were taking the water from the fountain in the town square. The fountain doesn’t exist there any more. The firefighters were keeping the roof of the synagogue wet so the fire would not spread to other houses, while other Germans were burning and destroying furnishings and old documents and books inside. I remember how the tinsmith Giesel and his son climbed on the roof, where they started to destroy the stone relief with the Ten Commandments. The Giesels were hitting it with the firefighters’ axes and after a while the whole thing fell down and shattered into pieces, which made them very happy. A Nazi named Jillek, who owned the German Kaffeehaus in the towns square, was one of the most active men in this infamous affair. Giesel was German and therefore his son was soon drafted to the German army. Apparently he was killed on the eastern front.

Karel D., Usov

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