Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Korper - March 26, 2007

Life Before the War

Let me take you back again to the pre-war.

Yeah. You asked me about the religion.


So, as I say, I went to religious classes. Religion really meant nothing to me. Don't forget I, I, I had a bar mitzvah in December '38. The Germans marched in, in, in March and I left in July. So uh, I didn't have much time to develop my thoughts and so on. At thirteen-and-a-half I did a lot of reading already from the age of nine and ten, but, as far as religion is concerned, it didn't play any, any, any, any, any, any--it had no place in my life.

What was a Friday night like?

Uh, just normal. My parents went out. They were very active socially and my father was a, was a very good speaker and he was very well known as a Czech Jew in Prague and he was a--do you speak a little German? ??? You know what that means? A commercial advisor, but it is, it's a ??? so they ???. Actually, that was , it was really done by the, by the Habsburg's who liked titles so everybody who was prominent in business, and so on, would be a ???.

What was his business?

He was, he was running the Stock Company. If you ever have been to Italy, you've seen this Stock brandy and Stock cognac on every single, single store. It's a--so he ran the business in Czechoslovakia.

A distillery?

A big distillery and they had the distillery in, in Plzen, Plzen, about forty--twenty-five, thirty miles from Prague and he was the, the general manager for the Stock people who were headquartered in Trieste, Italy, and who had distilleries, uh, oh yes, I--Austria, Hungary, Poland uh, Yugoslavia uh, Egypt and Palestine, at least. Maybe I've missed one or two. And uh, Stock was alive after the war and uh, uh, I met with him. They were very nice to us. They came to visit us when we were in Prague because they got back the distillery which was confiscated by the Germans. Of course, the Jews who were in Trieste--there were Jews in the top position--the Stock family is Jewish um, were kicked out so they came, they got the distillery back after the war so they came to, to inform the general managers. He met me and he said, "Look, when you, when you finish what you are doing in England" and I was studying engineering there in England at the time. I was on, on my holiday. This was on my first holiday vacation from England after I returned. I ??? and went back in, in December '50--'4...'4...'45 and the war ended in, I think, April or May...


...or September there--right, and we flew, flew home in June. And, he, he, he met me and he said, "Listen, when you finish what you are doing I'd like you to come and join our business." And, that is what I did. I come to, to, to that because you asked me...

I asked about your father.

My family did right so my, my--was a very successful business man. My father was just very good at it.

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