Petr Bachrach

* 1929  

  • “The first transport was ready on March 1st. They captured all men 16-60 years old. My brother was one of these men. He was there to re-train the young Jewish people for the former Palestine. My brother was working as a joiner. Before that, he attended school in Frydek-Mistek town. I was too young for there so I was sent to live with another Jewish family. My brother was taken with the rest of the transport in March of 1942. From our family, I was the last left. My father was transported to Nisko in 1930 where he was later shot. My mother stayed in Bielsk and was allowed to move back to her family in Olomouc town. The whole family lived there: grandma, grandpa, aunt, her brother, etc… My mother sold everything in Bielsk before coming to Olomouc in 1942. I think in either June or July, the whole family was transported to the Teresin camp. That was grandpa’s only “luck” prior to dying. My mother spent a short time in Teresin- about twenty days or so – because she had a disabled sister. They moved her to the town of Baranovice where she later died. Of course uncle and the rest were sent to Auschwitz- and none of them returned.”

  • “I received a phone call from my unit. I got dressed and right away jumped into my car. I’ve never driven as fast as I did that day when I went to Golan Heights. We were attacked by about eight hundred tanks there. The only reason I made it there so fast is because it was Yom Kippur and that left the roads completely empty. There was only one unit at Golan Heights- the 188th brigade- which at the time was divided into two. One half of the regiment was rebuilt again and the other half was left as reservists. I was one of them. When I got there- as I said, there were about 800 tanks coming straight for us and all we had was about eighty tanks, or a tenth of their force. The fighting was very tough. Our commander was killed and almost all of the headquarters officers as well. Our tanks were also destroyed… but all of a sudden, the Syrians stopped. They believed that we had them in some kind of trap. Because of this delay, we had plenty of time to gather or reserve forces for help. We continued to fight for another two days, and had finally fought them off. I, personally, went as far as five kilometers out of Damascus.”

  • One day, my lecturer named Tochten, came to me and told me that they were looking for me. They took me straight to the train station in the town of Loptovsky Mikulas and put me on a train for Ruzomberok, where my distant family lived and I hid for a year. One day, on my way to Ruzomberok, I was caught. This was in the beginning of 1943. There weren’t any young people there anymore because all of them had been deported. So they included me in the transport with elderly people. They put me in the very last carriage. It used to be a cattle wagon and the floor in it was completely rotten. While I was there I noticed two particularly rotten planks. I started kicking them until a made a hole big enough for me to get through (I’m not very big). People were yelling at me, but I told them to “Leave me alone.” The train had already been on its way so I didn’t know where I was. I grabbed the axles. In the carriage above me were either SS officers or the guardsmen- I don’t remember anymore. The train was going slowly. Everything happened by coincidence. I told myself, “Either I manage to do that or I die. At least I won’t suffer at all.” I let go of the axles and tumbled a couple of times. I realized that nothing at happened to me even though I think they were firing.”

  • “They wanted to test me, so they sent me down to the town of Prievidza where a German unit was located. They wanted me to search there. I took my knapsack- I looked like a school boy. I knew German perfectly, but I also knew I had to hide it. There was a German soldier standing at the barracks gate. I started to talk to him as though I didn’t know German. He seemed glad that someone was talking to him. I asked him what was inside and he told me what kind of unit there was and such. With this information, I returned to the mountains. They knew I was telling the truth because they already know what was down there. I became a commander’s link and eventually became commander of my own group of ten people. By the end I had become commander of the whole squad.”

  • “We mainly had Czech and German weapons. However, we needed some ammunition. Our commander, Mr. Sečanský, remembered that they hid a large part of the munitions somewhere near the town of Prievidza during the Uprising. There were about eight of us who went to look for them with him. We found the hiding place, but it was already empty. There were tank prints on the ground. The Germans probably found it. We were then supposed to return to the mountains. Our commander asked us, “Are we going back without it?” to which we replied, “No way!” We then took places on the way between the village of Handlova and the town of Prievidza. There was a very steep hill there and we didn’t know what to expect. Then we heard some heavy noise… we saw two army cars: an army truck and an armored truck in the distance. We hid inside a ditch until they got close enough to us that we could fire at them. The cars stopped instantly because everyone was dead. We quickly jumped out and began to take everything we could: maps, guns, etc…”

  • Full recordings
  • 6

    Byt Petra Bachracha, 01.01.2009

    (audio)
    duration: 01:32:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 7

    Ostrava, 27.06.2013

    (audio)
    duration: 02:39:36
    media recorded in project Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

You have to decide who you want to marry. You either get married with the army or you marry your woman

Bachrach orez dobovy.jpg (historic)
Petr Bachrach
photo: Soukromý archiv Petra Bachracha

Mr. Petr Bachrach was born on February 5th, 1992 in the Polish town of Bielsk. He comes from a Jewish, Czech, and German speaking family. When WWII began in 1939, his family ran away to Slovakia, where he attended a Jewish school until 1942. His whole family, except for his uncle on his father’s side, was transported to concentration camps- where they all died. The same fate was in order for Petr Backrach, but he managed to escape from the transport train in 1943 and hide away in the mountains. After a while, he joined a group of partisans and together they participated in several operations of the Slovak National Uprising. After the arrival of the Red Army, he was enlisted, and remained enlisted, until the end of the war. He then left the army with an ENS honor. After the war, he became a car repairman and passed several graduation exams. After the state of Isreal was established, he signed up for Palmach and fought in the Israeli fight for independence. Despite the fact that he retired from the army in 1952, he was again called to duty in the Sinai War (1956), Six Day War (1967), and also the Yom Kippur War (1973). In 1982, he also participated in the Peace for Galilea operation- where one of his sons died. He lived in the Czech Republic during the years 1990-2005. He now lives in Isreal, which he considers to be his home.