“Under a Cruel Star” by Heda Margolius Kovály | Review Questions
# Question 1
I realized that my situation had taken a turn for the worse. Until then, I had had to face only the police system of a fascist regime. Now I had to cope with a worse enemy, human fear and indifference. ” What prompted Heda Margolius Kovaly to make this observation?
This statement was as a result of the experiences Heda Margolius Kovaly had gone through during the war in the Lodz Ghetto and in the torture and overworking at the labor camp (Kovály et al 39). But she appreciated the fact that she only had to face the Police System back at the camp, unlike the cruel experiences she faced after her flee for freedom. Her husband was killed, she lost her job, years of suffering and finally she was excluded.
# Question 2
Soon after the war Rudolf Margolius, like many other Czechs, embraced communism. What were some of the key ideas and beliefs that he and especially Czech Jews found so attractive?
Heda and her husband found communism as the answer to many easily twisted self-interests. This was because of the strong sense of solidarity that had evolved from the camps. This made the desire for material things among the people to disappear because it was clear to them that those needs were secondary (Kovály et al 66).
# Question 3
The Czech government knew frequently to devalue the national currency, though it often only instigated rumors to this effect. What motivated the government to pursue such measures?
The Czech government has kept its currency allowing it to come down. This was aimed at boosting the economy of the state. This helped reduce the economic crises (Kovály et al 43).
# Question 4
In the aftermath of her husband’s arrest, Heda’s employer fired her. What repercussions did the loss of her job have?
Heda’s life was made harder and she was thrown out of her apartment and she lost her job, she was now a people’s enemy and most people did not want to associate with her. She was later prosecuted as unemployed and as being homeless. Her son, Ivan Margolius was raised up in did not have an opportunity for a good life as he was brought up in impoverished conditions and other children did not want to associate with him. She was not in a position to get a good job and to have good social conditions as long as the Communist Party was in power (Kovály et al 24).
# Question 5
On November 20, 1952, Heda learned that her husband was on the list of the accused in the Rudolf Slansky Anti-Conspiracy Trial. Skimming the list, Heda noticed a peculiarity. What was this peculiarity, and why was it significant?
Her husband was among the accused fourteen. She was not allowed to see her husband for a period of eleven months from when he was arrested. Jews made false confessions that were extracted from the torture they faced in custody. Head found out later that her husband was hanged, cremated and disposed of by the security personnel. Additionally, she discovered the disgrace the officials did on her husband’s ashes after cremating him. They used the ashes to skid on the frosty road in their Limousine as their wheels grip provider (Kovály et al 55).
Kovály Heda, Franci Epstein, and Helen Epstein. Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941-1968. Cambridge: Plunkett Lake Press, 1986. Print.