Pavel Hoffmann

* 1939

  • „For example, I found out that mom wanted to do suicide in one hospital, and that then they sent her to Bohnice (psychiatric hospital). She resisted deportation and she had so many acquaintances who would help her that she managed to postpone it until 1943. But in June 1943, she was sentenced to deportation and understandably, along with me, we got to Terezín. The situation in Terezín was alreadz so horrible and for her both mentally and physically that in this situation, she died there within three days.“

  • „My first memory was how we were standing in the rain, in inclement weather, in darkness and for very long and that I was terribly scared. At that time, I was alone. Later on, I learned what it was. It was a muster. Someone ran away from Terezín and they had all those fifty thousand people stand for 24 or 30 hours in one of those valleys. People thought they would be shot. When you think of it, I was four or five so that fear got stuck in my mind.”

  • „Testimony of one of the inhabitants whom I visited only when I was twenty. The Gestapo arrived, they checked her whole office. I don’t know why but in any case, they took the camera away, allegedly dad told them to give it back. Maybe he should not have done that. In any case, they took him away and within three days, my mother got a letter in German that said that according to the martial law, he had been shot. He was the first dead in our family. Three months later, my grandma and grandpa who lived in prague were deported. I need to note that my grandfather had been treating German patiens because in Mimoň, there were about 90 percent of German inhabitants and only ten percent of Czechs. And he was the so-called town physician. He was deported to Terezín, then two days later, to Auschwitz, and then the whole transport went practically right away to the gas chamber. So now three of my family members were dead by then.”

  • Full recordings
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    Reutlingen, Německo, 22.04.2021

    duration: 03:03:45
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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After his whole family was murdered, he was left on his own at age four in the Terezín ghetto

Pavel Hoffmann after the liberation in 1945
Pavel Hoffmann after the liberation in 1945
photo: archiv pamětníka

Pavel Hoffmann was born on the 20th of March in 1939 in Prague as an only child of a Jewish family. In June of 1942, several days after the assasination of the Acting Reich-Protector, Reinhard Heydrich, Pavel’s father, Jan Hoffmann, was executed by the Gestapo at the execution grounds in Kobylisy. Three months later, Jan’s parents were deported to the Terezín ghetto and later to Auschwitz where they perished. In July 1943, Pavel and his mother Alžběta were deported to Terezín as well; his mother died three weeks later. Pavel remained there as an orphan for nearly two more years. In February 1945, Pavel was taken into a humanitary convoy which took the Terezín prisoners to the town of St. Gallen in Switzerland. He returned to Czechoslovakia in the same year. At first, he was cared for by an uncle from his mother’s side, later, he moved to his aunt to Eastern Slovakia where he lived until he was seventeen. After having graduated from secondary school in 1956, he left for Prague to study at the Czech Technical University. In 1968, after second exchange stay, he got a job in West Germany where he moved with his family shortly before the August 1968 occcupation. In the 1990’s, he started his own business. He still lives (as of April 2021) with his family in Reutlingen in Germany.