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Richard  Kraus




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

My father, Richard kraus, was born in Vlashim, a small town near Benesov which is in Bohemia.  He came from a family of village Jews who lived on cattle trade and resided in the same part of southern Bohemia for more than 600 years.  His father, Bernhard Kraus, was active in the Czech political life and even became elected as deputy mayor of the town for a Neo-Czech party.  My father had eight brothers and sisters who all without exception, perished in the Holocaust.

 

My father established in Prague a factory producing women's clothes and

underwear which had about 50 employees. In the run of years he became vice president of the Association of Light Industry, an Honorary Trade Adviser and a lay judge at the Prague Labor Court of Justice.  He was widely known as an expert in his field and greatly appreciated for his integrity and fair treatment of his employees.

 

In 1941 he lost his factory, his house and all his possessions following the German occupation of Bohemia and was even jailed for some time. When he was released, he and his family were deported to Terezin in 1942, and from there in 1943 to Auschwitz- Birkenau. My father died in the gas chamber on 11th July 1944.

 

My father had a good tenor voice of which he was very proud. He actually studied singing all his adult life. He gave a great number of benefit performances.  He used to claim that his real vocation was opera singing, while producing ladies underwear or, as he called it,  working clothes for certain women, was just a side occupation. He gave several performances of opera arias even in Terezin and once or twice in the Czech familienlager in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

 

Most of his life he believed that he was a Czech of Mosaic religion,

though in Auschwitz I heard him say that he was sorry he didn't emigrate to Palestine because, after all, he seemed not to be entirely a Czech.  He even promised that on the way to his death he would sing the "Hatikva" together with "Kde Domov Muj" the Czech national anthem.