They saved us from Auschwitz. So many years had passed and I can’t stop thinking of it
Zdeněk Daniel was born on 9 September 1929 in Oslavany into the family of so-called indigenous Moravian Roma. His family was wealthy; his father was a horse trader and a Roma community leader, his mother ran a door-to-door business with textile. At 10 years of age, Zdeněk witnessed the invasion of the German armies to the country. The family wasn’t directly affected by the first years of the war despite the introduction of anti-Roma laws. On 10 July 1942, there was a census of Roma people in Oslavany which led to their division into two categories. His family was left in peace for the time being. However, on 5 May 1943, they were deported alongside the other local Romani people to Brno where a mass roundup took place prior to their deportation to Auschwitz. The policeman Bajer ensured the release of Zdeněk’s aunt Amálie Danielová who was allowed to take three children from the family with her. Zdeněk was among them. On 7 May 1943, the rest of the family was taken to a concentration camp. Zdeněk returned to Oslavany with his aunt and two cousins, where they lived in fear up until the end of the war. His mother Růžena died during a return from the concentration camp while his father managed to arrive safely and then founded another family. Zdeněk trained to be a plumber and then went to work in the chemical plants in Litvínov. He became a keen communist and underwent military service. He later got married and had two children. In 1968, he voiced is disagreement with the Warsaw Pact armies invasion to Czechoslovakia, left the communist party. He was then fired from his job and spent time in a mental hospital. He became a strong opponent of the communist party. In the early 70s, he became a new life with his family in Jablonec nad Nisou where he found a job as an assembler of water pipes.