My name is Lenka Hoffmannova and I live in Šumperk, the Czech Republic. I was born in industrial town Ostrava in northern Moravia. My grandfather was the master in a coalmine. My father was a turner...
Focus:Photographer, Photojournalist, Journalist
Skills:Translator, Digital Printing, Food Styling, Sports, Stylist, Black & White Printing, Color Printing, Storyboarding
Synopsis: I am a member of Jewish community in the Czech Republic. I am also a member of the Ackermann Geminde Organisation of the German minority in the Czech Republic. Because I am a member of minority group too, I am interested in other minorities life here too. I take photos and write about Jews, Gypsies, Sudeten Germans, homosexuals etc. I publish my articles with my beautiful photos mainly in various Jewish magazines but I have also exhibitoins and presentations at conferences and universities..
Reflection: I have taken photos of minorities and their events for three years. I started at the European Maccabi Games 2015 in Berlin where I was chosen from 450 volunteers as one of 4 field journalists.
I also took part at the bat micva in Loštice/the Czech Republic synagogue, the first since 1939, last, summer. The Jewish congregation brought the Torah from Glencoe/US. This 300 years old Torah comes from Loštice. There were 18 Torahs before the WW II. The Czechoslovak government sold about one thousand old Torahs collected from the perished Jewish communities to Westminster Centre/GB in 1964. The Centre fixed them and lended to Jewish congregations all over the world.
One of Loštice Torahs was lended to Glencoe congregation. They brought it for Marissa´s Bat Micva to Loštice. As I know there were 16 people including the rabbi coming to Loštice for Marissa´s Bat Micva from Glencoe. Marissa was just 12 years old in 2016 and she opened her ceremony to the public and media.
I could see Marissa´s first reading from the Torah. It´s the very important event for Jewish teenager and that day she is also accepted to her Jewish community. This ceremony took place in the small synagogue in the small Moravian town, because most of large synagogues in big Czech and Moravian cities were burnt out either after the Munich pact was signed in September 1938 or after the occupation of the rest of the Czechia and Moravia on 15th March 1939.
For me it was very interesting event because at the same time there took place the Bar Micva of the US ambassador´s 13 years old son in Prague. As I have already known the ambassador Andrew Shapiro´s mother was born in Prague and her Jewish family left the country just at the beginning of the WW II.
In my project about minorities in the Czech Republic I would like to show people more about their life. The Czech people mostly don´t know a lot about minorities life. They know neither the history nor the present about them. That´s a pity, because these minorities could enrich our lives and the world´s perspective.
As I know there lived about 80 thousand Jews in the Czech part and Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia before the WWII. Almost all Jews were killed during the war including almost the whole of my family. They also emigrated after the WWII. Then in 1948 and also in 1968, so there are only about 4 thousand Jews in the Czech Republic.
I found out after 1989 there lived more than 3 million German citizens in Czechoslovakia before WWII. After the war they were displaced mostly to Germany. I was shocked when I have recognized there were also included a lot of Czech Jews, because they spoke German so they were considered Germans according to the law. The displacement of Germans was mostly very cruel and there died or were killed a lot of them. The historians say it was about tens of thousands Germans.
There lived about 10 thousand Gypsies in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia before WWII. They were almost all killed off by Germans in concentration camp Auschwitz, but there were also a few Gypsy concentration camps in Protectorate Czech and Moravia. These camps were managed not by Germans but by Czech police officers. There were killed or died of typhus hundreds of Gypsies. The rest was deported to Auschwitz in Poland. I didn´t know any information about Gypsy fate before 1989 because it was not allowed to write about it in communist era.
After the WWII a lot of Gypsies came here from Slovakia. One of them is my best childhood friend. The government offered them flats in panel houses and jobs, but they were used to different lifestale so there were a lot of problems with them. Now almost all majority hates Gypsy people, the biggest minority living in the Czech Republic. There are almost 400 thousand Gypsies and there are a lot of unsolved problems about them. I don´t like it and I would like to contribute to better relationship between majority and them through my photos. As I think, Gypsy people have very interesting customs and culture. They have also their own language but unfortunalely not every Gypsy can speak it.
Another minority are homosexual people. I think, our legal system is very good for them. They can merry, adopt children and Czech people accept them without any problem. I also took part at Prague Pride march as a volunteer and I took a lot of beautiful photos there.