Country name at time of photo:Czechoslovakia, 1945-1989Country name today:Czech Republic
This photograph of me was taken in the 2000s. When I retired in the 1970s, I became the Secretary General of the Jewish communities in Bohemia and Moravia. I got this position after the death of the previous Secretary, Dr. Iltis. I held the position from 1979 until 1984. At that time I was called to the Ministry of Culture, where they offered me collaboration with the STB. I told them: 'Look, I don't have the nerves for it, my psyche is damaged; I was in a prison camp for five years.' And because of that I then could no longer perform the function of general secretary, which I quite regretted. I took it so hard that I had a heart attack and had to have a bypass. When they then discharged me from the hospital, I began to work as the superintendent of the new Jewish cemetery, where Frank Kafka is buried. I held this position until 1994. I greeted the revolution in 1989 with enthusiasm. My first trip to the West led me together with Misha Vidlakova to visit a friend in West Berlin. Along with her we then set out via Austria to Switzerland, to her friend's place, where since that time we go every year to ski. Misha Vidlakova and I are active in the Terezin Initiative. She's in one of the head positions of this foundation. Since 1989 we've been making the rounds at elementary and high schools and universities in the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria to lecture about the Holocaust. Misha is currently also a member of the Prague Jewish religious community presidium. As I'm already retired and also have to take care of my wife, I don't have time left for any other activities. Perhaps only that I keep in touch with friends from the Auschwitz Commission. It's located in the Czech Republic and its members are people who were in Auschwitz during the war. As far as my financial situation goes, I can say that it's not all that bad, because I collect my pension, allowances from the Czech-German Fund and from the Claims Conference.