Jiří Steiner

In December 1942 he and his twin brother were sent to Terezin together with their parents, he was deported to Auschwitz 5th Sept.1943.

His parents and 13 other members of his family died in the concentration camp.

I was barely ten years old when the Germans occupied Prague. My father’s business, wholesale of expensive textiles, was closed. My mother then earned money by selling hand-made textile flowers. Never did they talk about their concerns and worries when we were present.

In one of the last transports my brother, my parents and I were taken to Terezin.

I fell ill soon after that, suffering from diarrhea and pneumonia. That saved us from being getting into the next transport to Auschwitz. Some weeks later they sent Zdenek and me to the children’s’ home in the Hannover-Barracks. I have pleasant memories of this home. Although it was not allowed, we had lessons in math, literature and languages. Our teacher was fantastic. jiri-steiner In 1991 we met again in Terezin. We embraced, crying. He had written a little story, “The 13 Dwarfs”. I was one of those dwarfs.

In September 1943 we were deported to Auschwitz, along with 5000 other prisoners. All the people from the transport were killed in the gas chambers half a year later. My brother and I were not killed. Later I found why: for his experiments and pseudo- scientific examinations we were valuable to Mengele, the camp’s doctor. He kept his eye on us. We spent our first day in Auschwitz on the wet concrete floor in a shack. Shouting loudly they woke us up in the night for tattooing. Then there was a time that I cannot properly recall. I was so puzzled by what I saw; I did not understand anything.

On 8th March 1944 we were taken to the infirmary. I think we were given drugs. When we woke up the next morning the camp was empty. Although everybody knew exactly what had happened, they did not tell us. Later we found out that everyone had been gassed and later burned. We refused to believe that our parents were dead. All those examinations that did not seem to end, the measurements, blood tapping, the x-rays and the drugs they tested on us had weakened me a lot. I was very ill. But as long as I could be with my brother, everything was all right. At night we curled up against each other, wrapped in our blankets to sleep. After liberation we promised to do everything that Fascism would never happen again.

My brother died several days before his eighteenth birthday after he had had a road accident.

Journalist, born May 20, 1929 in Prague, married, 1 son.

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