Holocaust Survivor lecture April 13

Renata Laxova, who was on the last of the Kindertransport trains that evacuated Jewish children from Nazi-held territory in Europe, will give the annual Holocaust Survivor lecture at Cornell College at 6:30 p.m. on April 13 in Hall-Perrine.

Renata Laxova will give the 2015 Holocaust Survivor Lecture on April 13.
Renata Laxova will give the 2015 Holocaust Survivor Lecture on April 13.

Laxova was born in Brno, now part of the Czech Republic, in 1931, less than two years before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and launched his murderous onslaught across Europe.

By the time she was 7, the Nazis had taken control of Brno, and her family was in danger. Her mother secured her a space on one of the now famous “Kindertransport” trains, which took thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-held territory to safety in England and Sweden. She was on the last train to arrive safely in England on Aug. 2nd 1939. Her parents promised her that they would try to get to England to join her. It was one month before Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and the beginning of World War II.

Laxova spent seven years safely out of reach of the Nazi atrocities with the Daniels family in a suburb of Manchester, England. Her parents were not able to escape to England, but they did survive. Her mother was the first civilian to be allowed to fly out of Prague to England after the war, where mother and daughter were reunited. They returned to Czechoslovakia in 1946, where Laxova finished school and began her University studies.

She trained in Medicine at Masaryk University in Brno, receiving a Ph.D. in medical genetics and graduating from medical school in 1956. She married a veterinarian named Dr. Tibor Lax, and they had two children. Her doctoral thesis was entitled “Genetics of Isoamylases: Study of the New Human Polymorphism.” She and her family were again forced to flee from their homeland in 1968, when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia. They escaped to the United Kingdom, she worked at the Kennedy-Galton Centre for Medical and Community Genetics in London. She was then appointed to the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975 where she worked at the Waisman Center, a research center for human developmental disabilities. She is the discoverer of the Neu-Laxová syndrome, a rare congenital abnormality involving multiple organs.