Birthdate: May 17, 1936
Birthplace: Velká nad Veličkou, Czech Republic
Religious Identity: Reform Judaism
“To us it was temporary; we thought it would go away.”
Hana Kovanic was born into WWII. Her family felt the situation with the Third Reich was only temporary, and so the family decided to stayed in Europe. In late 1942, because of her father’s qualifications as a carpenter the family was placed into Sered, a labor camp where he helped build the barracks. In 1944, due to the Slovak uprising they were liberated from the labor camp, but forced into hiding. An incident occurred on a train and they were identified as Jewish, and were and sent back to Sered. Her father and older brother were sent to Sachsenhausen. Hana and her mother and brother were sent to Auschwitz but were never unloaded from the train, if they had been Hana and her brother would have been killed immediately. From there they were sent to Thereseinstadt. The entire family survived the war, despite being separated. The family came to the U.S. in 1948 and started a life in New York. Hana holds a BA in Business and Accounting and a Masters in Accounting and Finance. She started her career as a CPA but spent her career teaching accounting after the birth of her daughter. Hana met her husband they were married in 1969 and went on to have one child, Paula. Hana now has three grandsons, who she says are her everything.
“My father got a job on a skyscraper in New York. He would work overtime, and he made as much money as he could. His sister paid for our tickets to the U.S. and we had to repay the tickets. He always said ‘I didn’t die in a concentration camp, but I might fall off one of these things’.”
Read her full testimony here.