The Holocaust Educational Trust is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlova.

The Holocaust Educational Trust is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlova.

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust said:

Zdenka Fantlova was a tour de force. A survivor of Terezin, Auschwitz-Birkenau, a labour unit in Kurzbach, Gross-Rosen, Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen, she was determined to share the horrors that she and her family experienced during the Holocaust. It was a remarkable and unique testimony that captivated all who had the privilege to hear it.

Glamorous and elegant, Zdenka was dedicated to educating the next generation, even appearing on the Antiques Roadshow alongside one of her liberators from Bergen-Belsen. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.


Zdenka Fantlova 1922-2022

Zdenka Fantlova was born in Czechoslovakia in 1922.

In January 1942, Zdenka and her family were deported from their home and sent to the Terezin Ghetto, where Zdenka was reunited with her boyfriend, Arno. In June 1942, knowing he was to be deported the following day, Arno made a ring out of tin which he gave to Zdenka as a symbol of their engagement. On the inside of the ring he had engraved Arno 13.6.1942.

On 17th October 1944 Zdenka, her sister Lydia and their stepmother were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.  When they arrived, Zdenka hid her ring from Arno under her tongue and was able to escape detection and keep it with her.

After a short time at Auschwitz, Zdenka and Lydia was sent to Upper Silesia where she was forced to dig trenches. From there she was sent on a Death March to Gross-Rosen in Germany, and then to Mauthausen, in Austria finally Bergen-Belsen where she was liberated on 15TH April 1945. 

Soon after Zdenka and Lydia arrived at Bergen-Belsen there was a typhus epidemic, during which Lydia died, aged just 17. On 15th April 1945, Zdenka was liberated by the British Army. After liberation she learnt that most of her family including Arno had been murdered during the Holocaust.

Zdenka wrote a memoir, The Tin Ring, which told her incredible story and memorialised forever the gift she was given by her first love Arno. For many years she visited schools and other organisations, educating students about her experience in the Holocaust.

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