Chess pieces carved with a penknife by Yekutiel Stern for his son Noah in the family’s hideout
Yekutiel and Rachel Stern escaped from Bratislava with their nine year old son Noah in the fall of 1944 and wandered from village to village in Slovakia. They sent their twelve year old son David to “safe” Hungary.
For four months the family hid in the home of Maria & Jan Matula, and for three months in the home of the Potancok family, both in the village of Povraznik. To keep themselves busy, Yekutiel carved chess pieces from pieces of wood he found in the yard and painted them and the chess board with ink that was bought for this purpose. In March of 1945 a Hungarian unit that fought with the allied forces liberated the area, and the family returned to Bratislava. On their return they learned that David had been deported with his grandparents from Hungary to Auschwitz where the three perished.
In 1949 the Stern family immigrated to Israel where their daughter Miriam was born.
Maria Matula received recognition as “Righteous among the Nations” for her part in hiding the Stern family.