(15th July 1923 Plzeň)
Eva Anna was born on July 15th, 1923. She was the first daughter of Leo Brummel (born on March 10th, 1890) and Gertruda (born on September 22nd, 1899, neé Liebsteinová). On March 14th, 1926 their second daughter was born - Eliška Sofie Karolína, usually called Lilly. They lived at 100 Klatovská Street (today 140) and their nanny called Beta lived with them. The father was one of the owners of Brummel, Bloch & Waldstein tannery located at the corner of Kalikova Street and Přemyslova Street.
The Brummel family came from Nová Ves. Grandfather Mořic got trained in tanning in Kožlany and moved to Klatovy where the family lived till 1905. Father Leo graduated from the grammar school in Klatovy. During WWI he was captured in Russia and when he got back he took over the tannery in Plzeň. After the company was closed during the depression he worked in Sušice.
Leo and his brother Jan married Liebstein sisters - Gertruda and Jana (Jan and Jana Brummel returned from Auschwitz). Markéta Brummelová (Leo's sister who married Leo Eisenschiml) died in Birkenau.
They always spoke Czech; only during the joint meals the parents demanded German to be practised. Eva was supposed to improve her German at school - the primary school for girls at Chodské Square. Besides that she sometimes practised French conversation with her mother. In 1934 she entered the grammar school (II. československá státní reálka) where she smoothly adapted to lessons in Czech. Among her classmates she was considered to be "a very talented student with remarkable knowledge who was often presented as a paragon by teachers but remained very modest" (the words of Václav Gruber, one of the classmates). But after finishing the fourth grade she changed to business school at Petákovo Square. In July 1939 she left for Great Britain in one of the Nicolas Winton's transports.
Jarmila Bartůňková-Krejzová remembers:
"We were saving money for a party at their place. Their parents were often gone and in the evenings Eva and Lilly were usually alone at home. Their cook made a cake for us.
I taught Eva and other girls how to dance when the boys had lessons of physical education. I can still remember the melody... Eva's aunt had a house in Husova Street with a flat roof and we used to sunbathe there. And this aunt of hers had a plenty of records.
The last six months before her departure to Britain she studied at a business school and she privately learned English. She was probably preparing to leave. Her father stayed in Plzeň quite long. I used to see him removing snow at the railway station. Lilly had a friend called Honzina. She was a poor girl and the Brummels always supported her a lot. Then, when they were banned from entering shops she was doing their shopping."
During the Christmas in 1938 a twenty-nine-year-old Briton Nicolas Winton came to Prague. Originally he headed for Switzerland but his friend Martin Blake persuaded him to come to Czechoslovakia. Martin was a delegate of the British committee for refugees and organized escapes of Nazi-threatened adults. Winton tried to find a way to take Jewish children to a safe place. He was acting on his own so he had to overcome many bureaucratic obstacles. He was hunting for visas, medical certificates and most of all for people willing to take care of these children. He managed to send transports to Sweden and mainly to Britain. But the last train with 250 children couldn't leave - it was the 1st of September 1939 and the World War II broke out.
Eva's parents had been weighing up the opportunity of their children's emigration for a long time. Finally they let the decision up to them. Eva didn't hesitate to leave, Lilly did not want to go away and in fact her mother was glad that at least one of her daughters would stay.
Eva came to England and was adopted by the Pamment family. When the World War II broke out the Pamments moved to the country and sent Eva to an old aunt living nearby. Eva had no possibility of further education. Therefore her parents' friends (Mr. and Mrs. Otte who had moved to England before) took her to their place in Birmingham. It was still in 1939. She took external courses at a London university till 1941. Besides that she learned English shorthand and typewriting. Later she moved to Bristol where she could work in a hospital laboratory.
In the meanwhile Eva's parents and sister were moved to a smaller flat in Veleslavínova Street. Lilly kept in contact with her friends - for example Zuzana Růžičková and Hana Fischerová who returned from concentration camps after the war or Hana Fantová who died in Raasiku. They used to meet at the pond called Židovák that was appropriated for Jews. In the photograph the one next to Lilly (on the very left) is František Přibyl (a son of the curator of the Plzeň Museum), on his back there is little Viktor (Viky) Stein who died in Auschwitz. In the other picture from the left there are Erich Ordner and Hanzi Benischová who wanted to get married after the war and Lilka Penížková; in the upper row there are Karel Kumpera and Marie (Mimka) Ehrlichová; on the edge Polda Weisskopf side face and again František Přibyl lying. Hanzi Benischová and Lilka Penížková were included in a transport to Auschwitz after their return to Terezín from Křivoklát where they worked in a forest. Erich Ordner joined them voluntarily and they all died there in September 1943. Karel Kumpera and his friends of the same views led a private war against the German invaders. Later he said that he had only been doing what he had considered to be right. He socialized with Jewish youth (including Lilly) at homes of Jewish people protected by their marriage with Aryans - at Marty Rappová's place (her parents owned a delicatessen shop opposite the theatre) or at Františka Kubíčková's place in Sedláčkova Street. Mrs. Kubíčková got a postcard sent by Truda (Gertruda Brummelová) on September 7th, 1943 after her arrival to Auschwitz. At Mrs. Rappová's place there were food parcels stored. They could be sent to particular people in Terezín just from one post office in Plzeň where it was allowed.
"Mr. Brummel used to go to bed at nine o'clock. Then we were reading in the next room. They had double beds there; Lilly and her mother were lying there, I was lying between them and reading them a book. Those were fantastic days. Mr. Brummel was a sociable man; he was always jolly and we always had a lot of fun with him."
The Brummels were not summoned to any of the Plzeň transports. They were transported from Prague to Terezín in July 1943. Lilly and her aunt Jana were sent to work as loggers in Křivoklátsko. Those days Karel Kumpera and his friends camped out not far from them so they could meet secretly and even hand over packages with food.
Leo, Gertruda and Lilka were transported to the Terezín Family Camp in Auschwitz on September 6th, 1943. Six months later Leo Brummel met Hana Sachselová-Kumperová's mother and gave her some advise how to behave in Auschwitz. Lilka, Gertruda and Leo were murdered during the mass liquidation of the Terezín Family Camp on March 8th, 1944.
After the end of the war the remaining relatives tried to convince Eva to get back and study medicine that she was interested in during her stay in England. She came home in summer 1947 and then she came to her uncle Jan's funeral in 1960. After the war they were worried that British authorities would not allow her to get back and after 1948 there was a danger that Czechoslovak authorities wouldn't allow her to leave (although she already had a British citizenship). In the post-war period she kept in contact with her relatives in Plzeň and since 1970 she used to visit Czechoslovakia regularly. As for her classmates, she was in contact with Šárka Černá and Egon Löbner.
In 1955 Eva married Michael Brian Nelson from Bristol. Their older daughter Susan (born on June 11th, 1955) also lives in Bristol, Gillian (born on November 19th, 1959) settled down in Sean Worthing in western Texas. Eva has four grandchildren: Chloe (11), Adam (15), Kiera (16) and Richard (18).
Nicholas Winton's "Kindertransports"
During the Christmas 1938 a twenty-nine-year-old Briton Nicolas Winton arrived in Prague. Originally he headed for Switzerland, but his friend Martin Blake persuaded him to come to Czechoslovakia. Martin was a delegate of the British committee for refugees and organized escapes of Nazi-threatened adults. Winton tried to find a way to take Jewish children to a safe place. He was acting on his own so he had to overcome many bureaucratic obstacles. He was hunting for visas, medical certificates and most of all for people willing to take care of these children. He managed to send transports to Sweden and mainly to Britain. But the last train with 250 children couldn't leave - it was the 1st of September 1939 and the World War II broke out. Nicolas Winton saved 664 children's lives thanks to his astonishing personal zeal.