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Yad Vashem "To Build and To Be Built". The Contribution of Holocaust Survivors to the State of Israel

Ruth Bondy

Ruth Bondy at a pioneer training camp, 1947
Ruth Bondy among the six Holocaust Survivors who greeted Pope John Paul II on the occasion of his visit to Yad Vashem in 2009
Ruth Bondy at a Yad Vashem symposium dedicated to her work, 18 December 2011
Ruth Bondy at a Yad Vashem symposium dedicated to her work, 18 December 2011

Ruth Bondy is a writer, translator and biographer.

Ruth Bondy was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1923 to Josef and Franziska née Hermann. In May 1942 she was deported to Theresienstadt and in December 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz where she cared for young children who were later murdered in the gas chambers. In July 1943 she was transferred to labour camps in the Hamburg region where she cleared the ruins of buildings that had been bombed. She was then imprisoned in Bergen Belsen. When she was liberated, Ruth Bondy weighed just 35 kg. Her parents perished in the Holocaust.

"Four of us returned from the Holocaust: grandmother Hermann, cousin Ota, my sister Dita and I. Twenty-five were wiped out in the Holocaust. Statistically, we were a lucky family. Someone remained to tell the tale." Whole Fragments p.33

She immigrated to Israel in 1948 following the establishment of the State of Israel through the framework of the overseas volunteer corps.

Ruth Bondy was one of the stars of Three in a Boat, a radio show broadcast in Israel in the 1950s. She worked as a journalist for over thirty years and taught in the Journalism Studies program at Tel Aviv University.

Ruth Bondy translated over 50 books from Czech to Hebrew including books by Karel Čapek, Jaroslav Hašek and Milan Kundera. Some of her research deals with the Holocaust, among them The Emissary: The Life of Enzo Sereni (1976) which was awarded the Yitzhak Sadeh Prize for Military Literature and Elder of the Jews: Jacob Edelstein of Theresienstadt (1981) about Jacob Edelstein the head of the Judenrat in Theresienstadt. She also wrote a number of short autobiographic works, including Whole Fragments and Nechamot Ktanot.

Ruth Bondy was awarded the Buchman Memorial Prize for her lifetime's work, the Sokolov Award for journalism and the Prime Minister's prize for Hebrew literature. Her books have been translated into Czech and have been successful.

In 2002 Ruth Bondy delivered the address on behalf of the survivors at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.

Ruth Bondy was married to journalist Rafael Bashan and has a daughter – the journalist Tal Bashan – and two grandchildren.


Ruth Bondy submitted 25 Pages of Testimony in memory of her family. Here are links to some of the Pages of Testimony:
Her father Yosef
Her mother Franziska
Her grandfather Yosef Hermann
Her cousin Hans
Her aunt Grete
Her uncle Erwin

When she was forty, Aunt Irma gave birth to a lovely daughter they named Blanička, the light and joy of her mother's life.

When the Second War broke out, during the Nazi occupation, a friend of aunt Irma's came over from neutral Sweden and begged her to let her take Blanička to a safe haven, promising to care for her as her own child, and bring her back to her mother when the bad times that loomed on the horizon were over. Aunt Irma could not bear to part with her sun-child, the gift she had waited for all those years. In September 1944, she and her daughter were taken to the gas chambers at Birkenau; she was forty eight and Blanička was eight. Whole Fragments p.22