Eduard Holomek, born 1922 in Kyjov, Hodonín district
Eduard Holomek's father František (1885-1943/44) worked in the glassworks in Kyjov as an assistant, while his mother Františka (née Daňhelová, 1885-1943/44) was in service in the family of a Jewish butcher named Strach. They were paid for their work, but it was not enough for a family of eight, so the children mostly went barefoot. Eduard Holomek had three sisters and two brothers: Žanka (baptized Terezie, 1911-1943/44), Štefka (baptized Rozálie, 1914-1943/44), Anna (1920-1943/44), Václav (1924-1943/44) and Drahoslav (1926-1943/44). The family had a wooden house in Kyjov with a veranda, a kitchen and a room. The children went to school, but the parents were illiterate. Eduard got along well with his classmates, and they used to come to his home to play football. Josef Prokop, an academic painter, also visited the Holomeks and painted them, especially Eduard's sister Anna, who was beautiful. Eduard Holomek left school in 1936 and, like his father, began working in the glassworks.
Everything began to deteriorate with the arrival of German troops. Around 1941, his former classmate Cyril Dufek, from a German family, came to Eduard Holomek and told him that the Holomeks would be sent to a concentration camp. Because he worked at the employment office, he was able to arrange a job for Eduard in Vienna, and thus an exemption from the transport. Holomek was hesitant because he had never travelled by train before, so Cyril Dufek sent another classmate with him to Hodonín, who helped him on the way and showed him which train to take.
When he reached the village of Enzesfeld, south of Vienna, he met his cousin Rudolf Daniel (born 1905), who had fled earlier and was working in the local munitions factory [Enzesfelder Metallwerke AG]. He started to work there too, and even went to Kyjov for his younger brother Václav, so that he could get a job work and be saved, but his parents begged him to leave quickly because the gendarmes were looking for him, so his brother Václav stayed at home.
After some time at the factory, it was discovered that both Eduard Holomek and Rudolf Daniel were Romani and they were taken to the Maria-Lanzendorf camp, where they spent about a year.
They received bread with hot water in the morning, [turnip] soup at noon, bread and a piece of Kunerol, a butter substitute [like margarine]. There were about thirty or forty of them in the room, all Czechs. There were bunk beds all around the perimeter. The prisoners supported each other and kept together; if one couldn't work, the others worked for him. It was a labour camp, and people in it most often died of starvation or dysentery. The guards were mostly Croats and were cruel; only one – an Austrian known as Panenka – did not beat anyone.
There were people of many nationalities in the camp, mainly Russians and Greeks; the Russians were in a special prison in the compound. Eduard Holomek then lost contact with his cousin, who was in another block. He worked for a farmer and unloaded stones from the train at the station in “Majdlinek” [Mödling (ed.)]. He and a friend escaped from there when the guard and his dog were on the other side of the station. First they went to Vienna and from there they wanted to go to Břeclav. However, there was a passport control at the station before Břeclav, so they got off and walked through the forest to Stará Břeclav. In the forest they met a German with a pistol, who forced them to go back to “Pernital” [Bernhardsthal in Lower Austria] to the gendarmerie station, where they stated that they were working in Stará Břeclav for a farmer. They were not believed and after a week of investigation were sent to a prison in Vienna. Eduard Holomek tried to go under the name Oldřich Eduard Portyš, but it did not help him and after a few months they ended up again in the Maria-Lanzendorf camp. The SS asked them if they had been there before, but Eduard Holomek denied it, so they began to give him a severe beating. He confessed only when the other prisoners came home from work and a Romani man advised him. He was put in solitary confinement, where he was without food for thirteen days, being given water to drink once every three days. Then he started work again, remaining there until the summer of 1944, when they were taken to work for various companies. There was a shortage of workers, so they assigned him to the bricklayers, from which he escaped in November 1944, taking a train across the border. He reached his cousin Rozina Holomková (1903-1989) in the village of Nesovice, where he hid until the end of the war.
The rest of the family – hia father, mother and all the siblings – were deported straight to Auschwitz. His sister Anna had previously married a non-Romani cloth merchant and worked as a maid in Brno, which might have saved her, but when she heard that the family was being rounded up for transport to the collection point in the Brno slaughterhouse, she followed them and shared their fate. None of them returned.
How to cite abstractAbstract of testimony from: NEČAS, Ctibor, ed. Nemůžeme zapomenout = Našťi bisteras : nucená táborová koncentrace ve vyprávěních romských pamětníků. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého, 1994. ISBN 80-7067-354-0, 141-143. 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/eduard-holomek (accessed 11/29/2023)
Origin of Testimony
The narration was recorded and transcribed on 14 and 15 March 1988 by Jana Horváthová.
Where to find this testimony