Thursday, July 2, 2015

Karla Andělová-Weisová

Karla Andělová-Weisová
Last year after visiting Yad Vashem in Israel I wrote a blog post about Karla Andělová-Weisová who was a member of the Czech resistance during WWII.  I recently received an e-mail from her family to say how happy the family was to know that she is still remembered.

One mystery the family has had is that they had read before that she brought home a Jewish boy but they have never been able to figure out any more information about him.  When Karla married Ferdinand Weiss there was no mention of a boy.  And Karla's daughter did not have an adopted brother.  The family has been trying to find him for several years. 

Here's a bit more of the story...

Karla was a Catholic when she met Ferdinand.  His wife had died prior to the war.  His two sisters and three children were all in Auschwitz.  Ferdinand was a staunch anti-Nazi, for obvious reasons, and he and Karla started an anti-Nazi group and, during their time, managed to hide over 200 fleeing Jews in Karla's basement.  In later years, she would joke that "there was no more room for Ferdinand in the basement, so I hid him in my bed!"

They got caught when a male friend of Karla's got jealous of Ferdinand and turned them in.  Karla did indeed convince Ferdinand to let her take all the blame for the group and the working the safe house.  When she was taken, she was tortured for information about the group, and the involvement of others.  Her hip was dislocated and never healed correctly, leaving her with a limp the rest of her life.  She never talked, however.  When she finally was released by the Soviets from Ravensbruck, she returned home to Prague.

Ferdinand ended up seeing her name on a list of survivors in the newspaper some time later, and they reconnected, and later married.  There was a HUGE turnout for their wedding.  They emigrated to Israel, where Libushe was born and served in the Israeli army.  Later, they emigrated again to the United States and eventually to California, where I met [her grandson]; Libushe's son; and there you have it.  Sadly, Karla died long before [her great granddaughter] could have known her, but by all accounts, she was a pistol.  She got into wheelchair races in the nursing home, loved to laugh, and that lifelong limp?  She proudly called it her "trophy".   Ferdinand's two sisters came out of Auschwitz and moved to the United States as well, but his children didn't.  Tiana (my daughter) met her great-aunt Frida last year, and Frida died shortly thereafter, having never spoken of the Holocaust to anyone.

This is an amazing story and I'm so touched that the family shared it.  If anyone has any information about the young Jewish boy that Karla saved then please let me know so that I can pass it on to her family.

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