Antonie Kroková, née Serinková, born 1925 in what was formerly Doupov (now the Hradiště military district)
Antonie Kroková’s father's name was Jan Vrba, her mother's Marie Serinková, and her siblings Jana, Josef, Antonín, Jan, Josef and Marie. She did not remember the names of the others. The family lived in Beroun.
The family was unaware of the existence of the camps until their deportation in 1942. Antonie Kroková says that mixed families were chosen, and that her father tried to resist, and attacked a German.
They gathered them in a courtyard in Beroun, where they photographed them, took their fingerprints and wrote down their details. They were allowed to take items weighing up to 25 kilograms on their journey. They were then transported by lorry together with others to the concentration camp in Lety; they were accompanied by German police.
The family spent nine months in Lety, before being taken in cattle trucks to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. They were forced off the train by guards with dogs, beaten, and forced to run to the camp. The prisoners were first shaved, then they had to wash in cold water, and then they were given prison clothes and clogs. Finally, a number was tattooed on their left arm. The family was in quarantine for about a week, and then went to block 10. The barracks had no windows or heating, and there was a gate at each end. There were about a hundred prisoners, who had three toilets at the end of the block. They slept on bunk beds and each had two blankets. They went to roll call twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, which lasted about an hour, and everyone had to go. The Blockalteste were Germans.
They were fed three times a day, most often a scoop of fodder beet with unpeeled potatoes, but also oatmeal or fodder carrots. They had to drink unsweetened coffee made from substitutes. Better food – snails, for example – could be bought in the canteen, but their family had no money. They had access to water once a day, but were not allowed to do laundry or wash. Antonie was a child and said that although the children did not have to go to work, they did not escape abuse. For example, they had to stand with their arms outstretched while paper and sand was put on top. Anyone who couldn't stay standing or who cried was beaten. Many diseases were rampant in the camp, especially typhus, malaria and dysentery. Antonie got typhus; her hair fell out, and she was put in isolation in a separate block, but received no care. The sick were lying on the floor, with buckets of water all around, but were not allowed to drink. Several prisoners died every day.
Pits were dug around the camp into which prisoners who tried to escape fell. The guards then pulled them out of the pit and let dogs tear them apart. They shot some of them and then carried them around the camp on stretchers as a warning to the others. Punishment for a prisoner who tried to escape was always given to the whole block.
Antonie Kroková said the worst moment for her was when she stood in front of the gas chamber. She was saved by a professor from Prague, whose name she does not remember; he had taught her brother and cousin in Prague and recognized her.
Antonie Kroková stated that she was then in the Birkenau camp [Auschwitz II - Birkenau], from there she was transferred to Ravensbrück, then back to Auschwitz and to Wittenberg near Berlin, where she was liberated by the Soviet army.
Children without parents returned home by train with an escort, and of the other children she remembered Ferdinand Ševčík from Pilsen, Robert Ševčík from the village of Brody, Alžběta Serinková, Vlasta Serinková, Věra Šmídová from Podbořany and Gustav Serinek. She was the only one of her family to return home.
-  Probably part of the village of Krásný Dvůr in the Louny district.
How to cite abstractAbstract of testimony from: NEČAS, Ctibor, ed. Nemůžeme zapomenout = Našťi bisteras : nucená táborová koncentrace ve vyprávěních romských pamětníků. str. 172–173. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého, 1994. ISBN 80-7067-354-0, 172-173. Testimonies of the Roma and Sinti. Project of the Prague Forum for Romani Histories (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences), https://www.romatestimonies.com/testimony/antonie-krokova (accessed 11/29/2023)
Origin of Testimony
The memoir was written down by an unknown author on 7 January 1988 in the form of answers to a questionnaire.
Where to find this testimony