In sports, you have to accept both victory and defeat, and the same applies in life
Robert Birnbaum was born on 20 March 1929 in Puklice near Jihlava. His father Robert Birnbaum Sr was the administrator of the large Puklice farming estate. In 1941 the witness’s father was arrested by the Gestapo (possibly for resistance activities) and deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he died. His grandmother was also persecuted by the Nazis; she survived Terezín only to die in the extermination camp of Treblinka. The witness attended a secondary technical school of mechanics in Brno; he later studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague. At Christmas 1944 the Germans closed his school, and Robert Birnbaum and his classmates were assigned to forced labour until the end of the war, digging trenches around Brno. After graduating from secondary school in 1947, he found a job at PAL (later Motorpal) in Jihlava, where he worked until his retirement. He did sports his whole life, he played league football and trained in Sokol from his childhood. After the organisation was dissolved, he was active in the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Education and Sports. He participated in four All-Sokol Rallies and all the national Spartakiads. He also organised district spartakiads, for which he was awarded a state Medal of Merit for Development.