Anthony Bloch

* 1933

  • “My mum visited my cousin in England with Ríša [the witness’s son] in 1966. When she came back, she said: ‘You should leave the country, it’s pointless here. You’ll leave, they’ll take care of you, and then you’ll see.’ One year later, I got a visa, a departure permit, and I liked it there indeed. I stayed there, and then mum brought Ríša to us in 1968 during the 'thaw'. We left for the US in 1969 and went to Bert, and he took care of us, got us jobs and a place, and we started living in the United States.”

  • “I went to say goodbye and see them in school; each of them had their spot and number on the floor to sleep on. I think they stayed there for two nights and then they were deported. It seemed fun to us children; we joked that they were going hunting bears in Poland. We were little boys; I was six years old. When they were deported, I was eight; that was ugly. Nobody knew what was going on – the gas chambers. We didn’t know; we only learned about that after the war, really. That was ugly.”

  • “President Edvard Beneš died; his memorial service was scheduled for Tuesday. I went to the town square to have a look, wearing a US flag, which I got from the Americans, in my lapel. Guys went after me telling me to take the flag off. I ran but they eventually caught me. They took me to the police station. They asked who I was and what I did. They released me at eight PM and I went home. Dad said: ‘I hear the police chased you; I almost went there to get you.’ I told him everything that had happened. The next morning, I came to the weaving shop; they called me up at seven AM and told me I was dismissed over wearing the US flag.”

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    Karlovy Vary, 09.05.2023

    duration: 01:52:11
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He joked that they were going hunting bears in Poland. He had no idea about gas chambers.

Anthony Bloch at a young age
Anthony Bloch at a young age
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Anthony Bloch was born in Klatovy on 10 October 1933 into a mixed Jewish-Christian family. Due to his half-Jewish origin, he was forbidden to attend school or public spaces during the Nazi occupation. The Nazis sent his father to the Terezín concentration camp in 1944; he survived until the end of the war, but the father’s four siblings died during the holocaust. The father refused the offer to relocate to Israel in 1948. The witness lost his job at a weaving shop after putting an American flag in his lapel during President Edvard Beneš’s memorial service. He studied at technical high schools in Jihlava and Náchod. During his mandatory military service, he played football for teams in Jaroměř, Písek, and Mariánské Lázně. Having returned from the army, he worked in mines in the Jáchymov area and then completed training to become a cooling equipment mechanic. In 1967 he emigrated, following his cousin to the UK, and flew to the US with his wife and son to live with relatives two year later. He worked his way up the ranks to become the chief mechanic at a textiles firm registered in St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Later on, his wife and he opened and successfully operated a hotel in Arkansas, running a restaurant that served Czech cuisine. Following his divorce, he returned to the Czech Republic in the 1990s and remarried. He was living in Mariánské Lázně in 2023.