We had the opportunity this evening to meet Eva Vavrencka, the daughter of Felicitas (Lici) Wolf Garda. Lici was the sister of Otto Wolf in the Diary of Otto Wolf (required reading prior to the trip). We discovered Eva a few months ago through the author of Salvaged Pages, in which Otto’s diary is published in English. We were able to make contact with Eva through her daughter Nicole who is living in the United States. We told her all about our project in Trsice where we have been working with the local community to further commemorate this story by building a memorial. This memorial will mark the site of the underground hideouts in which the villagers of Trsice hid the Wolf family for three years during the Holocaust.
We are so grateful that Eva, who has never spoken in public about her family’s history, was willing to meet with us and share more details. She met us at our hotel where the staff graciously offered us a conference room in which we were able to speak with Eva in an interview-like setting. We discovered many new aspects of the story including that Otto’s diary was smuggled out of Czechoslovakia and brought to America in the 1970’s by Lici’s half brother, Thomas Mandl. Eva was able to give us insight into Lici’s post-Holocaust life. She described Lici as an eternal optimist who also treasured life, and forced other people to fully appreciate it as well. Although Lici did talk to Eva about her time in hiding, she never dwelled on the past and encouraged everyone around her to do the same.
We are very excited about continuing our relationship with Eva and her family to further our goals in honoring the Wolf family story. Next year when we complete the memorial project we are hoping that Eva and her family will be in attendance for the formal dedication.