Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Korper - March 26, 2007

Anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia

Another question for you. ???

All right.

Do you remember Masaryk?

Do I remember? He was, he was god to us. He was a wonderful man. Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. Garrigue--his wife was American so he took, he took her last name as his middle name for himself. A wonderful man.

He used to visit those villages in the, in the Carpathians ???

Yes, yes, yes, yes. He was--he defended, he defended a Jew who was accused of killing a Christian for the Jewish holidays--we drink his blood-- the ch...child's blood, and he defended him in, in, in Vienna. He was a professor in Vienna at the time, Masaryk. Even though he is a Czech through, through and through, born of Czech parents in Bohemia but, you know, if you wanted to get anywhere you had to go to Vienna. Prague was not--Prague was later. Um, and he defended him successfully.

And he was a hero.

He was an--oh, absolutely. A god. god-like figure to us and, and a wonderful, wonderful...

Did he ??? anti-Semitism, do you know?

He had a lot to do with it. Oh, nobody would dare in the government, nobody would dare to, to, to, to raise a voice.

And there were no anti-Semitics?

Nothing official, nothing in the newspapers. Absolutely nothing. Now, it started when the, when the Germans invaded. Not with the population that they all of a sudden became anti-Semitics. Even though, and, they were under orders, probably some did it without an order, but I doubt it that there was. The, the Jews not welcome started appearing in certain restaurants and so, but it did not appear everywhere so I, I don't--this I don't know the details but I know, I know one or two restaurants who tried it--saw myself Jews not welcome, okay? At school, I heard only one remark and, bear in mind that I finished a year, so the year ended, I suppose, end of June, even possibly middle of July because--no, I left early July so it must have been end of June the school year ended. And the Germans marched there--marched in, in March and a few weeks into that period after they marched in uh, I remember being in a--after, after a gym class we went in the changing rooms and next to me were two boys and one said to the other in a loud voice so that he knew I would hear it. He said, "Well, one thing about the Germans invading--having invaded us--one good thing is that we'll get rid of our Jews. That is the one and only remark I heard in that three months which followed before I left. Shortly after the Jews had to, had to wear the Star of David and things got worse and worse and worse. Now, my, my father, he was so well known and having lost a position with the Stocks, got, got, got the position as uh, as uh, administrator of the Jewish hospital in Prague. There was one Jewish hospital in Prague which was, I suppose, for, for, for Jews who needed help and which became the chief hospital. So every Jew in Prague had to use that hospital and he became administrator. And, that kept him, him, him and his--and my family stayed in Prague until the last, very last Jew. They left on the last transport to Theresienstadt. They still called it a transport. It was, it was a train load of Jews going thirty-five miles to Theresienstadt. And, uh, uh in that position he was protected and he kept the apartment. They didn't touch him. And after they left there was a German official who got it. When my, when my sister came back um, as soon as the war ended and even before it may have been a few days because the Russians freed them--it was either the Russian Army or the American Army. I think it was the American Army because the Americans advanced as far as Plzen, Plzen and then they stopped.

She was in Theresienstadt?

She was in Theresienstadt and she came home and the apartment was there for her, practically untouched. We asked that one of the--or both of them actually, both--they were sisters, both of the girls who, who worked for us. One of them became the concierge of the building. And so, so she, I suppose, made sure that, that the apartment stayed as is for a few days that nobody moved in after the Germans ran away.

These two servants, they never turned against you.

Oh, no, no, no, on the contrary, on the contrary. This, this lady's daughter is now concierge still in there and I visited there several times and, I was--unfortunately Crystal who was, was, was the servant and who became the concierge, she died a few years ago. But both my sister when she visited from Australia and I, we always, we always helped her, whatever problems she had, she needed a ??? and she was sick. She needed a doctor and ??? her somebody and she's wonderful.

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