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Ruth Bondy was born to a large Jewish-Zionist family living in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She received a broad education in a range of subjects, including journalism and Czech literature. She belonged to a Zionist youth group and visited the British Mandate of Palestine for some agricultural training in preparation for possible future emigration there. After the German invasion of her country in World War II, Ruth Bondy and other young Zionists answered the call to action of Jacob Edelstein, a leader of the movement in Prague. She was mobilized to run educational and social activities. At age 19, she and her family were sent to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt, where she was involved in the unique and extensive educational activities that developed there. Most of her family members died in the camp. In 1943, she was transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. In 1944, she was transferred with a group of other women first to a labor camp in Hamburg, Germany, and then to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, where she contracted typhus, but survived. She was liberated at the end of the war and returned alone to Prague. There she volunteered for a fighting unit made up of young Jews who wished help fight in Israel's coming War of Independence. She arrived in Israel in 1948. Within a relatively short time, she began writing for a Czech periodical, but was determined to learn to write as well as speak Hebrew. She became a journalist for Davar, a newspaper in simple Hebrew for new immigrants, initially as the Haifa correspondent. In 1953 she became a correspondent for Devar ha-Shavua and Omer in Tel Aviv. She also taught in the Journalism Studies program at Tel Aviv University. Her reportage of human interest stories led her to begin writing biographies, beginning with that of Enzo Sereni, the oldest of the Jewish parachutists from Palestine who were dropped behind enemy lines in World War II, The Emissary: The Life and Death of Enzo Sereni (1971), which won the Yizhak Sadeh Prize in 1974. Her next work was on Jacob Edelstein, Elder of the Jews: Jacob Edelstein of Theresienstadt (1981), the first work in which she dealt directly with the Holocaust. Since then she has written some 20 other books. She translated into Hebrew all the issues of Kamarad, a paper for young people published in Czech in one of the children’s houses at Theresienstadt. She also translated the works of Czech authors including Karel Čapek, Vaclav Havel, Jiri Weil, Milan Kundera, and Jaroslav Hašek, such as the classic The Good Soldier Schweik. She is involved in activities to preserve the history of Czechoslovakia’s Jews through Beit Terezin at Kibbutz Givat Hayyim-Ihud. She also has written a number of short autobiographic works, including Whole Fragments and Nechamot Ktanot. In 1954, she married Rafael Bashan, a fellow journalist, with whom she has a daughter, Tal Bashan, also a journalist.
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