Hadas Kotek » Personal

If you’re wondering how to pronounce my name: in IPA, my first name is [hə.’das] and my last name is [‘ko.tɛk]. Hadas is a Israeli/Jewish name referring to one of the Four Species, and it is also related to the biblical name Hadassah. I am named after my great aunt, Hadassah Greenfeld (née Wallenstein).

Kotek is a Czech name meaning “kitten,” and it has cognates in pretty much every Slavic language I know of. Most English-speakers will pronounce my last name with a dipthong, and that is fine with me - I often pronounce it like that myself these days. As for my first name, the only important thing to remember is the stress. You can drop the first syllable altogether and I’ll still recognize what you say as my name, but if you stress the first syllable there is a decent chance that won’t realize you’re talking to me.

Here is a research paper I wrote about my grandfather Otto Kohn/Kotek’s journey during World War II: from Czechoslovakia to Denmark to Sweden to England back to mainland Europe, and after the war: from Slovakia to Austria to France to Israel (in Hebrew; contains original interviews with 10 members of my grandfather’s Youth Aliyah group). It is the first major paper I have ever written, it has won several awards in Holocaust-related national competitions, and it still makes me very proud.