Milena Jesenská

Milena Jesenská (born 10 August 1896 – died 17 May 1944) was a Czech journalist, writer, editor and translator.

After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the German army, Jesenská joined an underground resistance movement and helped many Jewish and political refugees to emigrate. She herself decided to stay, however, despite the consequences. In November 1939 she was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned first in Prague's Pankrác and later in Dresden. In October 1940 she was deported to a concentration camp in Ravensbrück in Germany. Here she provided moral support to other prisoners and befriended Margarete Buber-Neumann, who wrote her first biography after the war. Like other inmates, Jesenská was tattooed with an identity number in the camp - in her case the number was "4714". She nevertheless was given the nickname "4711" ("Siebenundvierzig-elf") by other detainees, a reference to a version Eau de Cologne which was at the time one of Germany's best known brands. Jesenská died of kidney failure, in Ravensbrück, on 17 May 1944.


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