Shek Family Video Collection and More

The Extraordinary Shek Family

This page is such a small gesture of our respect and gratitude to the Shek family. Words alone cannot express the remarkable story of Ze’ev and his wife Alisa Ehrmann Shek and their children’s kindness for sharing these unique 1950s 8MM black and white footage from Czechoslovakia. The Shek’s and the Unreich’s history on a personal and professional level, is partially captured in this hand-drawing of my grandparents by Alisa.

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The story of Zeev Shek is not complete without mentioning his incredible wife Alisa, both originally from Czechoslovakia and survivors of Terezin with a happier ending. They met in the Terezin ghetto, married in secret there, separated again soon after, eventually moved through various camps and survived. After settling in Israel, he became the personal secretary of Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first foreign minister (and later its second prime minister), and was one of the founders of the Foreign Ministry.

 

Zeev was versatile in many ways including a talented musician. His recorded songs were a way to remember the old country in Czechoslovakia and more. As a diplomat, he added folk songs gathered from every country he served. At the end of an evening's entertainment with dignitaries, friends and colleagues he would pull out his guitar and sing these songs. He used it as a bridge between people and cultures.

Ze’ev (the so-called director of the enclosed film collection) and his beautiful wife Alisa have an amazing background. Alisa wrote a journal in Theresienstadt when she was 17. It represents the only documentation of its type of the last days of the Terezin ghetto. The story of Alisa and her husband, both originally from Czechoslovakia and survivors of Terezin – is “a Holocaust story with a happy ending.”

In 1948 Ze'ev entered the diplomatic service in Israel and from 1950 to 1953 he was the first secretary of the Israeli embassy in Prague and continued own serving in other diplomatic capacities.

Highlights

These videos include the following remarkable highlights of people, places and stories. Plus Slovak folk music from 1965 below.

Paula Ehrmann

In one clip, Alisa’s mother Paula who lived with the Shek’s was in a group that was caught trying to leave Czechoslovakia. Clandestinely, she was sent to jail and released in the post Stalin pardons in the mid-1950s. Another interesting moment in the film, is the vinyl record that Ze’ev is showing Paula, was a private recording from the 1950 of classical songs sung by him, with the accompanying piano played by another Czech talented and successful musician, Zuzana Růžičková.

Tyler Thompson (U.S. Ambassador to Finland & Czechoslovakia) and his wife Ruthie

We uncovered photos and rare 8MM footage of the couple and their daughter in Prague with the Shek's from their visit in the 1950s. Tyler Thompson served as a United States Career Foreign Service Officer. You can see the photos of their visit at the Israeli consulate in Prague as well. Here's a fascinating interview with Eric Fleisher and Tyler link here. During the period of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and arrest of an American Reporter, Tyler was the United States Counselor at the time involved with these diplomatic matters.  

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Soccer in Prague

There’s a deep sports nostalgia footage of Israel vs. Czech Republic national football (soccer) team in Prague.

 

Frozen Vltava River

The footage of Czech's skating on the Vltava river is amazing.

Zlenice

Then there’s footage from the breathtaking leafy community called Zlenice. One of the videos has the famous Doctor Otto Felix (later Uriel Doron). Who was part of the Israeli team with Zalman to help secure weapons from Czechoslovakia. The equipment were so vital to defending Israel, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, said: "Without these weapons, we would have not survived."

 

Also, you'll see the Tompson family with the Shek's at the Zlenice cottage.