Summary biography

Zdenka is a camp survivor. She witnessed the Nazi invasion of Czechslovakia from her bedroom window. Zdenka was in several concentration camps and labour camps, including Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. She was liberated from Bergen-Belsen by the British forces.

On the 13th June 1942 Zdenka was given a tin ring by her first love Arno, while they were both in a concentration camp. Arno told her “This is our engagement ring, it will protect you. If we, we survive the war, I will find you.” They shared a kiss and then he was gone. Arno did not survive, but Zdenka kept the ring for the rest of her life.

Zdenka died on the 14th November 2022. She was 100 years old. RIP.

‘Calmness is strength. You have a choice. If things are tough, you can be sorry for yourself and go under, or, you can look it in the face, You accept the situation, you adjust to it, and you don’t question it, and you apply your every possible strengths – and the brain helps you – to overcome every difficulty, whatever is presented to you. It is your attitude to life. Things happen in normal life. There are tragedies. There are deaths in the family, there’s a loss of work, there’s a loss of love. There is fire in the house. Don’t despair.

Zdenka Fantlova

Artistic responses