print copy e-book
Sto let jedné židovské rodiny na českém venkově

Sto let jedné židovské rodiny na českém venkově

[A Hundred Years in the Life of a Jewish Family in the Czech Countryside]

Ornstein, AdolfIggersová, VilmaAbeles, Karl

subjects: history – 20th century, biographies and memoirs

paperback, 164 pp., 1. edition
translation: Dvořáček, Petr
published: august 2022
ISBN: 978-80-246-5274-0
recommended price: 250 czk



This trio of egodocuments captures the fates of three generations of a single family. In the first part, Adolf Ornstein revisits the life of his family in the Vysočina region in the second half of the 19th century. The text was written just a few years before his deportation to Terezin, where he died. In the second part of the book, the memoires of centenarian historian Vilma Abeles Iggers depict her childhood and growing years in Horšovský Týn, from where her entire family left to go into exile in Canada. The third part contains unique correspondence of her father Karel Abeles during the period of 1946–1952, in which he corresponded with his former German neighbors who had been exiled to Bavaria after the war. More than fifty photographs from the family archives and other documents were reprinted in the book. It is a unique documentary on the co-existence of Czechs, Germans and Jews in Czech rural areas and a powerful testimony on the loss and subsequent rediscovery of home.


The final edited text – or, more precisely, the corpus of surviving letters – is in this sense the most emotionally powerful of the three ego-documents. It compels the reader to reflect on the guilt, punishment and, above all, the personal and collective traumas to which people, regardless of their convictions, character or personality profiles, have been subjected as a result of the merciless wheel of history. Overall, then, the book under review can be highly recommended as a well-written
and, in particular, honest editorial achievement by Kateřina Čapková, and also as a very intimate and personal account by three generations of a Jewish family who look back at what was a dynamic and not always favourable period.
Vojtěch Kessler (Judaica Bohemiae 58/2023)