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Otto Grunfeld

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    From The Guardian-
    "My father, Otto Grunfeld, who has died aged 90, was a survivor of the Holocaust, in which his entire family were killed. Born in rural Czechoslovakia, where his parents, Moritz and Hilda (nee Lobovics), had a smallholding and soda factory, he was the younger of two sons. His older brother, Paul, was a great influence on him: Paul played the violin and Otto began the piano.
    As the Nazis’ influence grew, the parents tried in vain to send their two children to Israel, and then in 1942 came the forced movement of Jews from Prague to Theresienstadt concentration camp. Otto worked in the bakery and Paul in the gardens, smuggling food to others. The brothers heard there of the murder of their parents, and Otto suffered a severe mental collapse.
    In 1944 the brothers were transported to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, Paul was directed one way and Otto instinctively followed. Paul, with dark hair and wearing glasses, was being sent straight to the gas chambers. A guard screamed at the blond, blue-eyed Otto to go the other way. He was transported to Kaufering, where he was put on a night shift, carrying sacks of cement from trains for the construction of underground bunkers in which aeroplanes were built. No one, in their extremely weakened condition, was expected to survive more than one shift of this crippling work. Otto’s life was probably saved by the failure of a train to arrive on his second night, after an allied bombing raid.
    As American troops were close, the Nazis hurried to clear evidence of their activities and Otto, aged 19, had to carry dying victims of typhoid and the dead, whose bodies were piled up in sheds."
  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2006
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    Auburn, Alabama, US
    It is hard to read about a person like Otto, who literally lost his family. That must produce an ungodly feeling inside of one . Theresienstadt is well maintained and quite complete and now a monument . It one drives or takes a train from Prague to Magdeburg one passes by it. It is sometimes referred to as the "Model Camp" as it was shown to the Red Cross out of Switzerland to demonstrate that those keep there were well treated. In truth it served as a sort of sorting camp where people were sent bto labor camps or extermination camps. In spite of the "good reputation " there are 10,000 people buried there and a crematorium some several hundred meters away.

    I have always believed, if at all possible, everyone should visit one of the death camps but also think that Theresienstadt is worthy of a visit for it's place in the history of WW2.

    Thank you , Gordan for this moving link.


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