b. Hamburg, Germany, 1907
My wife Edith and I were inmates of the concentration camp Terezin (Theresienstadt), located in the heart of Bohemia (today's Czech Republic). On May 5, 1945, we were liberated by the Russian Army. Because of a typhus epidemic and because of the transportation difficulties at the time, it took several months to liquidate the camp. Edith and I were asked by the Czechoslovak government to stay on and help.
Edith was a social worker specializing in child care, and she was employed as such from the beginning at Terezin. On liberation she was responsible for children, mostly orphans, who were not taken to their respective countries. By the middle of June there were at least a thousand children left at Terezin.
About that time a group of people from the United Nations Relief Agency appeared at the camp. They told Edith that the British government, together with Jewish agencies, wanted to take one thousand children who had no relatives to be brought up in England; they wanted three hundred of the Terezin orphans to be the first contingent.
They assumed that children who had been through events such as these kids had would be difficult to handle. They asked Edith to come with the children and stay with them for some time. Edith agreed, provided that they would take me too.
In mid-August, we received word that a group of planes was coming to Prague to pick us up. Edith assembled the children. We walked to the train station, a walk of perhaps half an hour. Two extra cars were added to the train for us. On its frequent stops, many children ran out, and Edith had a hard time getting them back in. No wonder. This was the first time in years that these kids had been outside a camp. We actually lost two little boys who were left behind; rail workers caught them and sent them on the next train to Prague, where Edith was waiting.
The children slept those first two nights in an empty school, waiting for transportation to London. The planes were delayed by bad weather. The kids roamed the streets of Prague, much admired by many locals, who bought them sweets, toys, and other treats.
Finally, we got word that the planes had arrived. In the early morning everybody was bused to the Prague airport. At the airport, we were greeted by the