Ostravaks, Mehrin, Stolpersteine  

Ostrava Newsletter 78


April 2024 Pessach 5784

  • Heinz Vogel 1
  • Follow up from Newsletter #77
  • Ann Altman and The National Technical Museum
  • News of Ostravaks
  • Josef (Pepek) Salomonovič Book Launch
  • Eva Erben
  • Herman and Irma Krasnik
  • Emily Ball née Forster
  • Ostrava Stolpersteine
  • Czech Citizenship
  • Ostrava and its Jews
  • Appendix I The Black Box
  • Appendix II Ostrava Stolpersteine

Ervin Hojda 13.11.1908 – 14.2.24

Ervin Hojda died in the UK last month, age 104. A newspaper report from November last year to mark his 104th Birthday tells his remarkable story:

Pan Hoida se narodil v Ostravě 30. listopadu 1918. Po okupaci německou nacistickou armádou v roce 1939 uprchl z Československa a sloužil ve Francii a později u československé obrněné brigády ve Spojeném království. Po Dni D se podílel na osvobozování Evropy a v roce 1945 přijel zpět do Československa. O několik měsíců později se ale vrátil do Velké Británie kvůli rostoucí komunistické hrozbě. Pan Hoida žije ve Spojeném království ve Wirralu u Liverpoolu. Velvyslankyně Chatardová i vojenský přidělenec Brigádní generál Vratislav Beran zaslali panu Hoidovi narozeninové blahopřání.

The English translation reads:

One of the last surviving Czechoslovak veterans of World War II, Mr. Ervín Hoida, celebrates his 104th birthday today. Mr. Hoida was born in Ostrava on November 30, 1918. After the occupation by the Nazi German army in 1939, he fled Czechoslovakia and served in France and later with the Czechoslovak Armored Brigade in the United Kingdom. After D-Day he participated in the liberation of Europe and in 1945 he came back to Czechoslovakia. But he returned to Great Britain a few months later due to the growing communist threat. Mr Hojda lives in the UK in Wirral near Liverpool. Ambassador Chatardová and military attaché Brigadier General Vratislav Beran sent Mr. Hojda birthday wishes.


Follow up from Newsletter #77

Ann Altman and The National Technical Museum

Ann saw the article about the National Technical Museum in Prague in #77 and was able to provide some further valuable information, which we passed on.

I was particularly interested in this item from Stanislav Dvorak. It happens that my Ostravak grandfather, Emil Körner (and my great uncle by marriage, Hermann Hamlisch, from Zarosice) received a patent for a surveying instrument in 1915, as shown below

Tana Klementova, the Official Historian of the new Museum of Southern Moravian Jewish History (MEHRIN) in Brno, has the original patent document (she is copied on this message). 

News of Ostravaks


Josef (Pepek) Salomonovič: Book Launch

04. April 2024 - 18:30 Book presentation

Shoshana Duizend-Jensen: "Pepek - a child survives the Holocaust"

Museum of Dorotheergasse, VIENNA

Admission from 18:00
Entry free

Josef Salomonovic, called Pepek, is one of the last witnesses to the Holocaust. He was born in 1938 in Mährisch-Ostrau and now lives in Vienna. He has survived the Lodz Ghetto and five concentration and forced labour camps through incredible miracles and coincidences: Auschwitz, Stutthof, Flossenbürg (district office in Dresden), Pirna and Zwodau. Pepek remembers his experiences as if they had been yesterday: the indescribable luck of having escaped death by gassing as a four year old in a hiding place in the attic; when the bomb attack on Dresden saved him from the threatening shooting at the last second, or when his mother decided to flee with the children from a death march. Pepek has yet worked as a witness at schools and universities. The book is a living testimony to his memories with photos and documents, with background information about the history and fate of his family and descriptions of his mother and his elder brother, who like Pepek had to experience the horror of the concentration camps like Pepek.

Shoshana Duizend-Jensen, b. In 1961, studied history and Jewish subjects and lives in Vienna as a freelance scientist and author. In 2019, she was awarded the "Leon-Zelman Prize for Dialogue and Understanding" for her research and her civil society commitment.

Welcome speakers: Chief Rabbi Yaron Engelmayer
Shoshana Duizend-Jensen introduces her book.

Jörg Skriebeleit, head of the Flosssenburg concentration camp memorial centre of the Bavarian Memorials Foundation, in conversation with Josef Salomonovic.


Eva Erben

Asaf Tal wrote to the Jewish Museum in Prague, who passed it on to us as he wanted to use some photographs that we had given to the Museum:

My name is Asaf Tal and I work at the International School for Holocaust Studies. I received your contact details from my dear colleague Miriam Mouryc.

I'm writing you as we are currently producing a short testimony film about Eva Erban née Loewidt. You are probably familiar with Eva and her husband Peter.

Eva's parents were Henry Loewidt (born 16/1/1895 in Stribro Bohemia) and Klara Erban née Deutsch (born in Hungary in 1896).

Our testimony films, aimed for students and other learners, try to portray a personal story within the context of the local community. Thus we combine both archival documentation (documents, photographs and film footage) and current location footage and atmospheric shots to provide and establish the locations in which the events took place.

I was wondering if you could help us locate any relevant documentation about Eva. Eva was born in Děčín and when she was little the family moved to Prague. It would be very helpful to find out where the family lived and perhaps find contemporary photos of the street / house. In addition, any wartime documentation about Eva and her family would be useful.


Thank you and best from Jerusalem,


E-Learning & Digital Projects

The International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem Jerusalem, Israel

Naturally, we gave our permission for the use of the photographs.


Herman and Irma Krasnik

Allan Krasnik discovered a black box containing the key documents of their lives. Allan has now written up their life story and you can read it in the Appendix.


Emily Ball, née Forster

Aviva Forster (see Newsletter #44) introduced their daughter, Emily, to us. Emily is interested in applying for Czech citizenship and she is now in touch with Tom Auber and Ray Schonfeld, and is also now on our circulation list.



Ostrava Stolpersteine

We now have 89 Stolpersteine laid in Ostrava and we intend to produce a book about them and the people commemorated by them. We hope it will have an introduction by the Primátor of Ostrava and a Foreword by Rabbi Dr K Kopřivová of Westminster Synagogue as well as photographs and maps. It will be soft-backed and we expect it will cost between GBP15 and GBP20. The list of names commemorated is given in Appendix II.


Czech Citizenship

Through the British Czech and Slovak Association, I have received an appeal for people interested in applying for Czech citizenship:

Dear Sir or MadamI am a journalist from the Czech public service Radio (Český rozhlas). I am working on a story about a bill that should open citizenship to the third and fourth generation of Czech and Czechoslovak emigrants (details about the proposed bill are for example there - https://www.expats.cz/czech-news/article/easier-path-to-citizenship-proposed-for-descendants-of-czech-emigrants)

For a story about the bill, I would like to find a character who would be affected by the bill propositions and would be interested in obtaining the citizenship. I would like to kindly ask you whether you know about someone or could check if there is someone in your network?

Your help would be very much appreciated.

Kindest regards

Jana Karasová


Český rozhlas
Centrum zpravodajství
Vinohradská 12 | 120 99 Praha 2
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | www.rozhlas.cz


Ostrava and its Jews

In January, David gave a talk about “Ostrava and its Jews” to the Mosaic Hebrew Congregation in Stanmore.



Happy Pessach and Easter

Please keep your family stories and photographs coming in!

David Lawson, 2 Voysey Close, London N3 3TR, +44 20 83716870 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monica Popper, 28 Exeter Court, Maple Road, Surbiton, KT6 4AX, +442079988863, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Donal Savage, MST Kent House, Rutland Gardens, London SW7 1BX, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



1564 Scrolls A legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia

Jeffrey Ohrenstein, Chairman of the Trust, has announced the publication of a new and updated history of the Czech Scrolls and the Trust;

You can read the history of the Czech Memorial Scrolls in our new book "1564 Scrolls A legacy of Jewish Life in Bohemia and Moravia" which we will start to ship out in September.

Our thanks to MST Archivist Miles Laddie for the many months of work he put into researching and writing the story of the Czech Jewish community, of the Scrolls during the Shoah, and of the scrolls sitting unused in the Michle Synagogue in Prague. On 5th February 1964, the scrolls started arriving at Kent House in London.

A single book is offered at £17.50 plus postage for 150 pages, full colour, hardback. A Pack of 10 books is offer at the discounted price of £100 plus shipping in the hope that MST Czech Memorial Scroll Holder synagogues will use these as B'nei Mitzvah gifts.

Kol hakoved to Miles, and to Donal who edited and laid out the text.


The Czech Scrolls Sixtieth anniversary Scroll Gathering Service, 4th February, 2024

In summer 1965, at a cross community service at Westminster Synagogue, Chief Rabbi Dr Israel Brodie led the saying of kaddish for those who had died in the Shoah. This Jewish service can take many forms, and is expected to be cross community, bringing multiple Scroll Holder Communities together across a region. 

There are special scroll gatherings being organised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Memorial Scrolls arriving in London. Westminster Synagogue hosted the major celebration on 4th February 2024. 

MST welcomes every scroll holder community to host a Czech Memorial Scroll Gathering in their region, for the 60th anniversary year and for every year onwards.


Rabbi Dr Kamila Kopřivová, and Rabbi Benji Stanley, leading the congregation on 4th February


The scrolls processed in


Kingston Synagogue, home of the Ostrava Scroll

David Lawson reports that on a recent return visit to Kingston synagogue, that he was given a double honour, of Gelilah for the Ostrava sefer.  Rabbi Yechezkel Mandelbaum explained that whenever there is a special event on Shabbat, he uses the Ostrava sefer for reading the parasha, and explains why he is using it.  He also said that, on the MST 60th Anniversary, as neither he nor the Kingston sefer were able to attend the service and celebration, he arranged a similar, if smaller, event in Kingston to mark the occasion. 




The MST Newsletters

Please subscribe to MST's general Newsletter here.

The link to subscribe to this Ostrava newsletter is here.


Appendix I

Fragments from the black box
- about Herman and Irma Krasnik (née Astmannova)

Summarized by Allan Krasnik, July 2023

On the bookshelf in my study is a black box. It is a Chinese lacquer box that originally comes from Japan or Hong Kong, where Irma's sister Alice lived for some years. I got the box after Herman's death – crammed with memories of two unusual lives. Letters, ration marks, photos, identity documents, a yellow "Star of David" and much more. Separately, they don't make much sense, but together they paint a picture of two unusual lives with dramatic events that they almost never even talked about. It is a real Chinese box - the further you penetrate, the more you discover.

The box can be compared to the black box from crashed planes that contain the only preserved voices to illuminating an otherwise incomprehensible, darkened course of events. Here, admittedly, the disaster is not a plane crash, but the horrors of a world war.

The era before World War II: 1917 – 1939


Herman was born in Copenhagen on March 3, 1917, the son of Jewish immigrants, Mendel and Rosa Krasnik, who came to Denmark from Russia around 1910 along with many others who fled pogroms, military service and poverty. Many did not have Denmark, but the United States as their coveted target, but were stranded here in Copenhagen and settled. Mendel came from Polotsk in

White Russia (Belarus), Rosa from Riga in present-day Latvia. Upon arrival, the family's name was Krasnikov, but they removed the last letters to make things easier in Denmark. Mendel, like many other immigrants from Russia, was a tailor, and he found success in Copenhagen – he eventually established two garment shops, one on Nørrebrogade and one in Istedgade.

Mendel, Rosa and Herman, 1918–19

Herman was born only 7 months after the wedding, which is why it was said that he was a frail child. He grew up in Slotsgade in central Copenhagen, and as a boy he brought parcels for tailoring. The family later moved into a nice large apartment in Nørrebro, where they lived in the 1930s with a girl in the house and a nice Ford car on the street. They maintained Jewish traditions and holidays, regularly attended the synagogue, but were not strictly religious. They quickly learned Danish – but could also speak Yiddish.

Herman was the older brother (younger brother was Jacob), he first attended the Jewish boys' school. He was bright, Mendel and Rosa wanted him to continue in the higher education system, and he then attended Frederiksberg High School and graduated from there around 1936. As the first in the family, he was to pursue an academic degree, preferably as a doctor, although he reportedly wanted to become a watchmaker. He started after graduating from high school in medicine at the University of Copenhagen.

Herman was a tall, handsome guy, a bit of a "charmer" with lively social activity and many friends and girlfriends – first and foremost Jewish, and there were many parties, probably several girlfriends, and there were excursions and trips with friends to, among other places, Stockholm.


Irma was born March 6, 1923 in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, in a newly created country emerged after the war by the divisions of the Great Austro-Hungarian Empire. Irma was the second daughter of Markus and Laura Astmann. Her older sister Alice was three years older. Markus worked as Mendel in the textile industry, first selling fabrics wholesale and opening a successful garment shop in the center of Ostrava at the address Sokolská 2 together with his brother Josef.

The family's residence is uncertain, according to accounts from Irma, they lived in a house in a residential neighborhood in Ostrava, but there are no documents showing where. Like many others in the area, the family spoke both Czech and German. Irma attended a Jewish school, the family did economically well and lived a good and safe life with Jewish traditions, but without a strong religious inclination. On days off, they went on trips in the Tatra Mountains, and the family went on holiday every year in Czechoslovakia or abroad. Uncle Joseph and Aunt Nessy were childless and lived in a house on the same road. The family was prosperous and had servants (nanny (Catholic), maid, cook), and Irma never learned to cook in her childhood home.


Irma went to high school, she was a pretty and charming girl, went to cafés with family and friends, was fond of music, played the accordion and had many, mostly Jewish friends.

The War of 1939–1945


The German occupation on 9 April 1940 at first changed his life little, his daily life and studies continued, he was approaching the end of his medical studies in the autumn of 1943, when he was 26 years old. The Danish Jews lived without immediate threats and restrictions because of the government's policy of cooperation with the Germans, which included protection of the Jews.

In October 1943, everything changed, cooperation with the German occupying power had broken down in August and Hitler decided that the Danish Jews were no longer exempt from persecution as a European exception. Arrests of all of them were planned, and a transport ship with room to transport a large number of captured Jews from Denmark was ready in Copenhagen harbour at Langelinje. But the Jews were warned and encouraged to leave home and seek escape to Sweden. Herman and his parents and brother also left, when they heard the rumors, by train or car to Hundested in North Zealand to travel on to Sweden. They spent the night here for the purpose of crossing by fishing boat to Sweden the next day. The vast majority managed to escape to Sweden

– the Germans in fact only tried to prevent the crossings to a limited extent, and about 7,000 – 8,000 Jews escaped, but 472 were captured at home or during the escape. Herman and his family were among the unfortunate. They were captured by the German police, who, according to Herman's account, politely regretted that he had to arrest the family when they were exposed by a Danish informer: "I am very sorry .... but I will have to take you away."

The family was taken to cells in Vestre Prison in Copenhagen – and then driven to Langelinje during the night of October 1, 1943. Here they were lined up in rows, along with the others who had been captured and Herman has since said he was terrified, thinking that his last day had come. But they were all brought onto a large ship, Wartheland – far too big for the relatively few who had been captured – and sailed to Germany, where they arrived 22 hours later, and from there drove on by train, squeezed into cattle wagons without windows, which were often used to transport Jews. The train's terminus was ghetto Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia just north of Prague, a garrison town converted into a concentration camp, where the journey ended on October 5. Here, 470 Danish Jews were now locked up along with many thousands of prisoners from other countries who had been forced into the small town in overcrowded barracks and other buildings.


After Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, life soon changed for the family. The freedom and rights of Jews were gradually curtailed. The family feared the future, and Irma's father Markus – according to later family rumours - transferred a large amount of money to the family, who had emigrated to the United States before the war. Alice had married and moved with her husband to Slovakia before the country was occupied.

Markus was selected for the first transport consisting of 1,300 Jews from Czechoslovakia, as early as October 17, 1939. He was deported to a transit camp in Nisko in southern Germany occupied Poland near the border with Russia, where he was told to help test a plan for the mass relocation of Jews to a limited area in Eastern Europe. Some of the prisoners managed to escape to Russian territory, including Markus. The family had no contact with him or information about his further fate, but according to archival documents, he died in Buzuluk, Russia on April 5, 1942, of typhoid.

The garment business was run for some time by Irma's uncle Joseph and his wife Nessy. On July 5, 1943, Uncle Joseph and Aunt Nelly were deported to Auschwitz, where both were murdered a few months later, on September 6, 1943.

As a Jew, Irma was expelled from school at the age of 16 in 1939. She experienced people looking askance at her and spitting at her in the street. She dated Heinz, a few years older, Jewish youngster, who was the son of a chief physician at the city's hospital. For a while she stayed at a monastery, but after some time they did not dare to have her with them. Laura and Irma then decided to leave Ostrava – according to family accounts, they dug their silverware into their own or perhaps their neighbor's garden and hid special belongings with the neighbors (including a highly valued accordion). They took the train to Prague, but were taken by the Germans on the journey and sent by transport to Theresienstadt on September 30, 1943. What happened to sister Alice during the war is unknown, but she spent three years in a labor camp in the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia and survived the war while her husband died, possibly in Hungary.


Herman: He was now living in cramped conditions with his family, and he was put to work in various functions in Theresienstadt – including as a garbage collector in the city. He later said that during his stay "he met many interesting people from all over Europe" – artists, academics, etc., and attended high-level theatre performances and concerts. After starvation and deprivation in the beginning, on an equal footing with all the other prisoners in the ghetto, regular packages came from Denmark to the Danish Jews with food, etc. They were thus regarded as particularly privileged prisoners compared to prisoners from other countries. They were specially protected – were never forwarded to the actual extermination camps, while for the vast majority the city was otherwise just a transit camp before further transport to the actual extermination camps such as Auschwitz. Herman and his family attended the visit from the Danish Red Cross in 1944 – the clean-ups and beautification before the visit in order to give a bright picture of the Jewish model city, sending many prisoners from other countries to Auschwitz to thin out the dense settlements. He received postcards and letters from friends in Copenhagen with warm greetings from occupied yet relatively peaceful Denmark.

In late 1943 or 1944, he met Helga from Berlin, they became lovers – until her parents were selected for a train transport. Helga didn't want to let them travel alone and decided to go with them. Herman said goodbye at the station and later told that on the window pane with her finger she wrote "Ost" (to the east). He did not hear from her again during the war, no news ever came back from Auschwitz! He probably imagined she was dead.

Irma got a job at the town hall – which was run on a daily basis by the Jewish council, "Judenrat", which managed large and small in daily life in the ghetto. Perhaps that is why she avoided being sent east to the extermination camps, as happened to most Czech prisoners.

On November 14, 1943, Laura died of typhoid, which affected many in the city, Irma herself also fell ill, but nevertheless recovered. The Jewish Council sent a letter of condolence to Irma. Irma herself wanted after her mother's death to come with a transport in order perhaps to find the rest of her family. Someone from the Judenrat advised her against this, and it may have dawned on her that the transports not only went to other labour camps, but led to almost certain death.

Irma initially received frequent letters from her boyfriend Heinz filled with many loving words and a self-composed little piece of music on sheet music. However, the letters soon ceased, Heinz had been deported to Auschwitz and disappeared.

Irma was now left alone, without her mother, her Czech friends disappeared as transports to Auschwitz took their share of the camp residents, and she had no information about the fate of sister Alice or other family members.

But maybe in late 1944 or early 1945 Irma and Herman met - Irma was 21 years old, pretty and alone without a family. Herman was 27, a tall, handsome and charming Danish medical student, and they became lovers. How it turned out and what they could actually do together in the crowded ghetto is hard to imagine. But they were not the only newly formed Danish-Czech couples who were in the same situation.

On April 14, 1945, word finally came to the Danish Jews that the "White Buses" would arrive from Denmark and pick them up from the camp and take them to freedom in Sweden – perhaps as early as the next day. What did that mean to Irma, could she come along? The message was that this was only possible if they were married. A wedding ceremony was soon arranged for them along with three other similar Danish/Czech couples – however, the Danish rabbi Friediger was not willing to marry them, instead it was possibly the head of the Jewish Council Benjamin Murmelstein, and two SS officers stood as witnesses. Another couple consisting of a Danish woman and Czech man did not get married, the Danish woman came on the buses, the Czech man had to stay. However, he survived – and they met again after the war and were married in 1946 (account at the Jewish Museum in Copenhagen).

The trip to Denmark was tough - the total of 423 Scandinavian prisoners drove from Theresienstadt on 15 April in the white buses under bombardment through a Germany in ruins via a narrow corridor between the fronts to the Danish border. Herman and Irma were placed in separate buses – Herman and the other Scandinavians in alphabetical order, Irma in the latter bus. Along the way, they passed Dresden, which had just been razed to the ground by the Allies, but the accompanying German soldiers ordered that the windows be covered so that they could not see the destruction. The buses stopped for the night at Potsdam, which was bombed the same night. The buses reached Padborg unscathed after two days, on 17 April, where they were all able to have a bath with real soap and have a hot meal (oatmeal with milk). They then continued to the Freeport of Copenhagen, where they sailed by ferry to Malmö. Throughout Denmark, they were received by happy, waving Danes on the way. In Sweden, they were placed in a reception camp, given hot baths and good food – and soon after the liberation on 4 May, the Krasnik family returned to Denmark, where Herman and Irma started their lives as married couples in Denmark. Here, shortly afterwards, through a normal civil marriage, their marriage status was confirmed, as the marriage ceremony in Theresienstadt was not considered valid. Herman and Irma had very different reactions and experiences from the war, which probably reflected not only their personalities, but also the significance of the war for each of them. Herman described the stay in mostly positive terms, while for Irma it had been very traumatic, which took up the most space. However, it was mostly in a light-hearted tone that they talked about experiences from their stay, when they rarely jointly talked about it. Herman described how his stay provided an opportunity to meet many interesting people, and for him his stay perhaps also meant that he became more accepted by the "old" Danish Jews, which was probably not the case before, as he belonged to the "odd" Eastern European immigrants that arrived during the beginning of the century. For Irma, on the other hand, the war meant first and foremost losses.

1945 – 1991

Herman and Irma lived in Copenhagen at Gråbrødre Torv in the beginning, but later moved to Brønshøj on Frederikssundsvej (Rolandsgården). On January 25, 1946, Irma gave birth to a son (Allan) at the maternity clinic at Brønshøj Torv.

Arriving in a foreign country like Denmark was not easy for Irma. Critical – perhaps a little cool, curious glances from the new Danish family and Herman's many Danish friends. A lone alien bird brought out of the chaos of war. She never felt comfortable in the Danish Jewish congregation. She experienced that already in Sweden as a "foreign" she was not treated equally by the Danish Jews who gave her the worst clothes. In Copenhagen, however, she sat in the grandest place in the synagogue, namely in the front row in the middle, as she was close friends with the rabbi's daughter-in-law Hanka Friediger, who had also been married to a Danish man in Theresienstadt. And the climate was cold, the winter dark and rainy, the landscape flat without mountains and wild nature. The Danish language, which takes time to learn and is then difficult to pronounce without a clear accent. Herman and Irma's everyday language in the early years was German – their primary common language. Her closest friends were three Czech women who had also married Danish men – with whom she shared language and fate. Otherwise, she felt foreign in Denmark – for the rest of her life.

And her own family's fate was uncertain – had others survived? Alice, Mark, Joseph and Nelly? And what had happened to all her friends?

After arriving in Denmark, Irma wrote to her uncle Sam in the United States telling her that she was alive and now married and living in Denmark – and inquired about what he knew about the fate of the other family members. At the end of August, a letter arrived from Alice – typed and in English. A life-affirming letter, but with many questions. She had also immediately written to Uncle Sam after the end of the war, and he had written back to her with the news about Irma in Copenhagen and her address. So both sisters were miraculously alive, Alice was in Germany working for the organization UNRRA. She knew nothing about the rest of the family, felt completely alone and had lots of questions about Irma and the family. Had she married? How and with whom? However, what does she do in Denmark? How had she got there? Alice would try to get permission to visit Denmark – or maybe Irma could visit her in Germany?

Letter from Alice to Irma, August 23, 1945

My dear sister,
I just received a letter from Uncle Sam, where he wrote me about you. You can't realize what I felt this moment I read this word about you. I had no hope more to find somebody of our family. I don't know where Dolf is, I don't know anything about the parents. I even can't realize how you managed it to be in Denmark. Uncle Sam didn't give me any information about it. A hope I will have a letter from you very soon, so that I can know what really happened. Do you know about Mama and Papa, about Uncle Josef and Aunt Netty? Uncle Sam wrote me that you are with you husband. I cannot even understand this. When did you get married and whom did you marry? What are you doing now? How are you living? About me I can't write too much. I am now in a small town in Germany, working with the UNRRA Organisation. I don't know whether you know about this organization or not. But you can surely get informations everywhere. I have been three years in prisons and concentration camps. It is a wonder that I am still alive. But I am so alone now. I tried to get a permission to go to Denmark to see you. Maybe it will still be possible. Please try to get a permission to come here. Perhaps it is not so difficult as it is here. Please write me as soon as possible all about you, all, beause I will be happy to know what really happened. In the next letter I'll send you a picture of me. If possible, please send me a picture of you and also one of your husband. What is he like? Where did you meet him? I'm sorry but I can't understand this all. Since when have you been in Denmark? Where is Mama? Where is Papa? Is there any hope to find them again?
I expect your answer very soon. I'll be waiting for it every day.
With my best wishes and all my love
Your sister Alice

Soon after, Alice got permission to travel to Copenhagen from Germany – perhaps she accompanied American soldiers to Denmark as an interpreter and arrived to Copenhagen in a jeep. It was a moving reunion in Rolandsgården in Copenhagen for the two sisters.

Probably already in late 1945, Irma went by train alone and pregnant back to Ostrava to bury her mother's ashes and to retrieve abandoned items and investigate what was left from their former lives. The ashes she had strangely brought with her from Theresienstadt because she knew someone who worked in the crematorium. Whether she had received it upon her mother's death, or whether he later retrieved it from the place where the ashes were stored in small boxes is unknown. In Ostrava, the business was gone, the house taken over by others, it must have been a difficult journey. There was almost nothing left – and only a few things were brought back to Denmark.

To her great frustration, she never received another education, which she was very sad about. She had dreamed of becoming a lawyer in family law, which would have been a possibility, as she probably grew up in a modern family. She wanted to get a job, but Herman did not think she could do this, which was a conflict between them. She had a lot of migraines and also several other health problems. She was always afraid that something would happen to her children. After the war, Herman sent her to a renowned psychiatrist at Rigshospitalet, who, however, did not believe that he could help her, which one can wonder about today. She likely had a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Alice shared how the war had changed her. However, one could still experience in her adult life the happy, lively, curious and interesting person she also was. But she felt that the Germans had stolen her youth and opportunities, and she never got a job in Denmark. She was like most women back then housewife full-time. In addition to Allan, there were later two more children, Mark 1951 and Helene 1953.

After returning home, Herman quickly completed his studies, passed the final medical examinations in 1945/1946, served his military service as a soldier and, as part of his further education, worked as a doctor in various hospitals in, among others, Grindsted and Fredericia, which he, together with Irma and Allan, therefore moved to for some periods. Here in the smaller provincial towns, as a family of doctors, they became for a time part of the better bourgeoisie, a time that was referred to by Irma with a certain warmth, although it is difficult to imagine what it has been like for her as a very young and foreign in the country to thrive in the province of Jutland. Later, Herman became a general practitioner on Husumvej in Copenhagen, they bought a villa close by, and here he got a large and thriving practice as very popular and by many much-loved family doctor. He later also became a doctor at the Jewish nursing home and a school doctor at the Jewish school, Caroline School.

Irma died on 9 March 1974 of bowel cancer at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen at the age of only 51. Herman later remarried to physiotherapist Lise Herman.


In the 1980s, to his great surprise, Herman received a letter from Brazil. From Helga. She had survived the stay in Auschwitz and was now living in Brazil – Sao Paulo. Here, by chance, she came into contact with an employee at the Swedish embassy and asked if he could investigate whether there might still be a Herman Krasnik living in Copenhagen. Through the Danish rabbi Bent Melchior, he found Herman's address. Helga sent a letter telling of her survival, the journey to Brazil, that she had a husband and children, and that her husband was now dead.

After mutual correspondence, Helga travelled the long way to Denmark for a visit, after more than 40 years met Herman and the Krasnik family again and told about forced labour during the war with toxic substances, disease and survival, the further journey and life in Brazil. Her own children did not like to hear about her suffering during the war. Herman later traveled alone on a return visit to Sao Paulo and saw her there for the last time around 1989.

Herman was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1991 and died on August 20, 1991, aged 74 immediately after surgery for ruptured main artery.



Appendix II - Stolpersteine in Ostrava

Apelbaumova, Berta

Apelbaumova, Edita

Astmann, Josef

Astmann, Markus

Astmannova, Laura

Astmannova, Nessy

Auerbach, Leo

Auerbachova, Regina

Buchbinderova, Natalie

Buchsbaumova, Clara

Engel, Robert

Engel , Tomas

Engelova, Herta

Frankel, Jindrich

Frankelova, bedriska

Frankelova, Judita

Frankelova, Ruth

Friedenberg , Moric

Friednebergova, Marie

Fuchs, Hugo

Fuchs, Aron

Fuchs, Jiri

Fuchs , Milan

Fuchs , Artur

Fuchsova, Irma

Fuchsova, Marta

Fuchsova, Ryfka

Goldberger, Ferdinand

Goldbergerova, Helena

Hirschova, Marta

Hornungova, Eva

Kaufthal, Alfred

Kaufthal, Hirsch

Kaufthal, Max

Kaufthalova, Alzbeta

Kaufthalova, Helena

Kläger , Walter

Kläger , Peter

Klägerova, Greta

Kohn, Pavel Dr

Kohnova, Jindriska

Körner, Emil

Körnerova, Erna

Leichtova, Sidonie

Lieser, Eduard

Lieser, Jiri

Lieserova, Cila (Cyra)

März, Otto

März, Gideon

März, Amos Martin

Märzova , Meta

Neumann, Felix Ing.arch

Pick, Otto

Pickova, Greta

Pressburger, Rudolf Dr

Pressburgerova, Lilli

Rimpel, Jakob

Rimpelova, Josefa

Rix, Adolf

Rixova, Bedriska

Rosenstaineova, Marie

Rosenstein, Frantisek

Rosenstein, Rudolf

Rothova, Karolina

Rotter, Baruch

Rotter, Arnold

Rotterova, Ida

Schönfeld, Moric Dr

Schonfeldova, Ruzena

Siegfried, Jakob

Siegfriedova, Sali

Sillerova, Ilse

Slatner, Zikmund

Slatner, Pavel

Slatnerova, Emilie

Slatnerova, Zofie

Slatnerova, Bertha

Slatnerova, Edita

Sommerova, Rozena

Spiegel, Petr

Spitzer , Hugo Ing

Spitzerova , Greta

Spitzerova , Zuzana

Stamberger, Jindrich

Stambergerova, Meta

Stillerova, Gertrude

Wasserbergova, Irena

Wechsbergova, Ida

Wechsbergova, Hermina


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