English – commentary and samples of the book

The Gate to Heaven a true story of Milada Grammer and Julius Löwenrosen, published 2020, the first book written in the memory of her mother

According to the memories of her mother, a resistance fighter and a war veteran, Eva Neuschlová from Brno wrote a remarkable text. That is both a documentary and a novel based on the true story of her mother which is called Gateway to Heaven.

The story of the young girl begins in the late 1930s. Accurately describes the life in Brno from the point of view of Milada, a poor daughter of loving parents. A girl falls in love at the beginning of her maturity – quite extraordinarily. Even at this early age, she encounters racism in many of its vile forms. But she does not abandon his Jewish friend, even when he is imprisoned. After a while, Julius and his friends are transferred from Terezín to work at the Kukla mine in Oslavany, which will allow them to reunite and fight illegally together. The thrilling drama is full of romantic relationship and difficult situations with a courage to the point of insolence towards the German occupiers.

The Governor of the South Moravian Region and the Mayor of the City of Brno provided support and the Foundation Fund for Holocaust Victims (subsidized by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic), the Brno-center city district, the city of Brno and the SOLITON-team association provided sponsorship for the publication of the book in 2020

It is the first, fervent and pure emotion between the adolescent Milada and the Jewish boy Julius Löwenrosen that pervades the plot bounded by the years 1938 to 45 in the backdrop of the Protectorate like a red thread. Although Julius is interned with others in Terezín due to his background in 1942, Milada does not break contact with him or his friends. She is increasingly involved in resistance activities.

The most powerful parts of the story are the moments when the heroine self-deprecatingly describes her youthful reasoning, exuberance, whims and fits of unreliability, understandable in a young lady of her age, but which quickly change into self-discipline, awareness, and courage to act, owing to the horrors of war.

The book also contains an album of photographs from 1942 and 1943, a number of letters with drawings as well as blueprints of the Kukla mine written by Julius to his girlfriend, postcards from concentration camps and other period documents kept in the domestic archive for 77 years and now are available to the public for the first time. According to the promise the girl made to Julius and his comrades in the war, she describes in her story their fates, their indomitable defiance against occupation, sabotage, hope, desire, fear and courage.

Eva Neuschlová wrote more than a riveting story of friendship and love from a raw and rough period. A perceptive reader gets a transfusion of burning emotion and youthful courage to live. That is, and hopefully always will be, the eternal constant of human lives, regardless of the dates.

Sample from the book: Julek is standing in the street on the opposite sidewalk, waiting for me. I have new red clogs on my heel and I feel tall and mature. I want him to understand it, too! So I stand and wait for him to come over. Not like before, when I ran to him without any embarrassment. He understands and follows me slowly. The mirror on Ceylo reflects our silhouette. He’s almost a head taller than me. Jula comes in, and my smile freezes. It’s caused by the strange look on his face. Stiff, but boundless agitated… under the wide-open lapels of his coat shines a sliver of yellow star! I stare at him in horror.

Next sample: He says to me in a letter: “One unexcused shift, a jogger takes a public ride to Brno to the employment office to listen to the admonition and pay the penalty (at what level the bad guys want it – bigger than our monthly earnings). Two unexcused shifts, in which case I’ll go and rest in the prison, and if I don’t want to get cold, I’ll bring coal with me from Oslavan. When wood is added to it, it burns excellently (but only the wood). Here it comes up against the poor quality of coal. Not much Oslavanian coal will add to their victory. Three unexcused shifts -trip back to Terezín for free. And there I would try to see how much heavier the butt is than the front (or hanging from a crooked and carved tree). And they’d have to take me down from there. And then I would have to respect the grass – it would be the only one that would accept me and whisper softly over my grave… No one would remember more, not even you? It is often the case that in misfortune it is easy to despise life. But I still live in the hope that we will survive. If I were hopeless, I’d be illogical. Maybe next year the war will be over.”