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Marie (Manya)  Strass Kraus

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Marie  |  Richard  |  Harry

Before his death in 2000, Otto B. Kraus wrote the following in memory of his mother:

My mother, Marie (Manya) Kraus, was born on January 10, 1899 to Hugo and Olga Goldschmidt Strass, in Nachod which is a small town in north-western Bohemia.  She attended a Jewish elementary school conducted by Dr. Sicher, who later became the chief rabbi of Czechoslovakia.  When her family moved to Liberec-Reichenberg she visited German schools but her Jewish primary education influenced her for the rest of her life.

She married my father, Richard Kraus, in 1920 and had two children, Otto and Harry.  During all her married life she worked with her husband in their factory where she was responsible for the whole production while my father looked after purchases and sales.

My mother was a warm hearted and caring person who was an active WIZO member, voted for the Jewish party and was involved in various kinds of charity projects, especially after the Nazi takeover in Germany and the massive immigration of German Jews to Prague.

At a relatively early age she developed severe diabetes and was ordered to keep a strict diet which she, however, never did. She had a domineering elder sister and a presuming younger brother so that she always played the goody goody child to her parents.  When the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia she and her family remained in Prague partly because she was reluctant to leave her then very ill mother (Olga Strass), while her sister and brother left and saved their lives.

In 1942 she was deported to Terezin where she worked in a re-heat kitchen, in 1943 she was sent to Auschwitz and from there to Hamburg.  She survived the camp at Neugraben.  At the end of the war she was shipped to Bergen Belsen where she fell ill with typhoid fever and died several days after the camp was liberated by the British army.  I believe that she died not altogether desolate because I still have a letter of hers a day or two before she passed away in which she believes that her husband and both her children are still alive.  Which, alas, was not true because I am the only survivor of the family.

Otto B. Kraus