Helen Stransky

1934 – 2020

Escaped trough the "Kindertransport"

Helen was born in Czechoslovakia in 1934. Four years later, her brother Peter was born. When they were 6 and 2, they escaped Czechoslovakia on the "Kindertransport". Helen explained that about 200 children, were allowed on each Kinder Transport, ages 2-15 years. They were then brought to England via train, where about 10,000 other children gathered, also able to escaped the horrors of the Holocaust. All the Jewish children who were not able to escape Czechoslovakia, were killed along with their parents, by the Germans.

 

Once in England, Helen and her brother awaited to see which country would provide them with their VISA's. The Kinder Transport children would be sent to other areas of England, as well as to other countries who would accept them. For Helen and her younger brother Peter, their Grandmother and Uncle decided to bring them to Canada, as this is where they could get VISA's for. Helen explained, "I remember being in a Catholic Institution. We used to practice for when we heard the sirens and would run to this place under the ground. One day one of the nurses didn't make it and was killed."

 

Canada

Once in Canada, Helen's uncle became very busy with work, taking on a job making airplane parts in Quebec. One of the people that her uncle worked with, suggested that he take the children off of his hands, and so it was decided that they would go to this family in Ontario.  She explained, "We were with this family for 5 years. They were very good to us. They brought us up as Christians. I didn't know at the time I was anything different."

 

Peter and she were both raised in this family together. The mother would read her Bible stories and told her about Jesus. That's when she became a believer. After 5 years, they were placed with another family, as this first family could no longer keep them. At the age of 12, Helen was taken advantage of by the father of this second family, and so they spoke with the social worker and were removed. Her uncle then placed them in separate households, as one would only accept girls, and the other, only boys. So, they were separated from that point on, until they were later rejoined when they were brought to other relatives in Los Angeles, CA.

She was able to return to the first family, for her last year of high school.

Los Angeles, CA

At the age of 18, Helen left this family and went to learn how to become an x-ray technician.  After two years, she was able to be on her own.

In the meantime, her uncle explained to them that they were Jews and wanted them to attend the Synagogue with him. She went on to explain, "So I did go a few times, but it was too late. I didn't want to go to a Synagogue." She attended a Reformed Jewish Synagogue for 2 years to find out what it was all about, but she had already become a Christian by this point. During this time, both her grandmother and uncle passed away. She attended the Jewish Synagogue, trying to understand who her parents were, as she knew they were Jews.

Later she also attended weekly meetings where both Christians and Jews gathered together. Some Jews tried to convince them to return to Judaism. She went on to say, "I went to these meetings and I had a boyfriend who tried to get me back; he was Baptist, and he said that we could get married and go to the Ivory Coast to become missionaries.

But I wasn't ready for that at the time. I hadn't decided what I was. I'd go to these classes and they'd tell you all the good things about being Jewish, and then they were trying to get the Jews to return to Israel. So, I finally decided that that's where I wanted to go. After I gave my notice at work, as I was working at the time in x-ray…I guess it was several months later, and I was in Israel."

She had been in Los Angeles, CA for 13 years. During this time, she learned how to Scuba-dive and did this for 2 years. Then the last 6 months that she was in Los Angeles, she was learning how to fly a Cessna 150. She remembered with fond memories, "I had about 13 hours of flying on my own. I liked it, but when I had to land on the Catalina Island, that’s an island near LA, I quit because you had to land going up a slope and I only had so much money - and at the time I was interested in coming to Israel. It was either that (go to Israel) or continue flying, as the money wasn't there. I couldn't do both. So, I decided to go to Israel." She went on, "I was trying to find my identity – was I a Christian, or was I Jewish?"

"I was trying to find my identity – was I a Christian, or was I Jewish?"

Israel

Deciding to go to Israel was not easy. Helen became nervous, as she didn't speak the language and she didn't know anyone. It was all so strange to her. The first four months as she studied in Jerusalem at Ulpan (it was January), it rained all the time. She struggled with a constant cold, until they sent them to Tiberias in April or May, where the sun was shining and it was warm! Her cold instantly went away. She then worked at the Poria Hospital and stayed there for 5 years, where upon, she left and went back to LA to make more money. She went on to explain, "I just needed to make some money, because I was too broke to accumulate much of anything. The wages that they paid in Israel was about 1/4 of the wages at they paid in the states. I stayed a little while in LA after the 5 years I spent in Israel, made some money, and then returned to Israel."

 

Helen explained that her brother Peter at the time of this testimony, was living in Canada, and had later married and had 3 children and 9 grandchildren. He is an atheist, who Helen prayed for constantly. She had witnessed to him and tried to work him over to Messiah, but at the time of her death, he still had not accepted Messiah.

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