Prof. Ing., CSc. Jaromír Ulbrecht

* 1928  

  • "I probably wouldn't have to consider emigrating. My wife had a good place. She worked at the Institute of Meteorology in Prague, I led a group at the Academy and after many years we got a cooperative apartment in Pankrác, so what? As you say, I had no material compulsion to emigrate. But in 1968, when the Russians came, not only were we occupied by the Russians, but a lot of people in leadership positions changed. Those who were non-communists were kicked out. Communists or other such vermin came to their places. The same thing happened in Pankrác at the school where my children went. Soon after August, a parents' association took place at the school in Pankrác, and after that meeting I was called by the new principal, who was appointed there, a stale rock communist. And she said to me, 'Comrade, you have the worst staff report I have ever seen, and that is why your children will never get to study.'" - "You have actually had a bad staff report all your life." - "First because of Peroutka and then it went on. Well, I don't know if you have children or not, but if for some reason they forbade you that your children were not allowed to do what they wanted, it would probably get you quite cross too."

  • "I did a lot of crap. To this day, I have not forgotten. Before I left, I bought the German marks illegally in Prague to have some money. I wondered how to hide them so the border guards wouldn't find it on me. I know they always search all suitcases and all briefcases. So where should I have put it so that it was not noticeable? So I thought it would be best hidden if I normally put the German marks in my wallet, it would be hidden there. Well, and the first thing they wanted me to do was to put all things out of pockets down on the table. They opened the wallet and there were all the marks. And it was a big mess. They took the marks and left, locked the door behind them and left me there. And it was night. I arrived at the border at 11 pm. It was a foggy night. I sat there until about four or five o'clock in the morning." - "Was your whole family with you?" - "No, they took the Vindobona train to Vienna. At about four or five in the morning, I don't know what time it was anymore, one of those border guards came in. He had a piece of paper with him and said, 'Sign here that you illegally exported a foreign currency, and when you return, you will be punished.' And as soon as he said ´when you return´ I simply knew I was out of it."

  • "They did not want to let go of the sick and infested. The second reason was that my dad kept a diary like that in that concentration camp... just to explain... The Germans kept very detailed records of all the deaths, and all those deaths were recorded in that book, that they died of either cardiac arrest, on a heart attack. Which was not true, however, it was only because of the Red Cross. And my dad, because he had access to those books, he used certain marking, unfortunately, I don't know exactly what kind, but he used marks to indicate what their real cause of death was to those killed men and women." "So your dad was a doctor?" "No, he was not. My dad was the director of the bank, he was an accountant. And he got to those books. When the Americans got it, they kept our dad a little longer in the camp, because they wanted him to explain to them what the marking mean. What meant ´shot on the run’, what was ´hanged’, what was ´gas chamber ’, and what was real.”

  • "And that was in 1939. My father was, for God's sake, why, I don't know, but the Gestapo came for my father. They took him first to the concentration camp in Terezín and then to Mauthausen. I was about eleven years old at the time and it was a pretty important life experience for me. When your father is taken away, it's pretty bad. I remember one day a gendarme came to us… Do you know who the gendarmes were? It was this kind of police from Austria. A gendarme came to us and said to my mother, 'Your husband has been arrested by the Gestapo and we are currently holding him at our gendarme station, and he asks you to send him clean linen and say goodbye to him.' And my mother refused to go there. because she said she would collapse. So the gendarme said, 'Come on, send your daughter.' My sister was about four years older than me, and she refused. So I went to see my dad. Dad encouraged me, said, 'You know what, you're the only man here, so watch out for the women.' And he said, 'You're a scout, so you have to endure it all.'"

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    Rumburk, 04.12.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 02:24:05
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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We have emigrated so that children have a future

Witness during the studies at high school
Witness during the studies at high school
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Jaromír Ulbrecht was born on December 16, 1928 in Ostrava. Father Josef Ulbrecht was the director of bank branches, his mother stayed at home and later made a living as a saleswoman. In 1933, the family moved to the other end of the republic, to Benešov, where the father obtained the position of director of the bank. His father was arrested by the Gestapo in 1939, imprisoned in Terezín’s Small Fortress, and survived his stay in the Mauthausen concentration camp. In the camp, his father kept statistics on the deaths of prisoners, which were used in the post-war Nuremberg trials. After the war, the father returned to the position of director and the family bought a villa in Prague-Podolí. Jaromír Ulbrecht graduated from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, where he later obtained a doctorate and a scientific candidacy under the guidance of the American professor Standfort. He has long been involved in the field of non-Newtonian fluids. He obtained several patents, including foreign patents, after designing a reactor for processing synthetic rubber. In the mid-1960s, he worked as a researcher in Aachen, Germany. In November 1968, he and his wife and two children decided to emigrate to Austria, via Austria. He worked here at the University of Manchester, and after seven years he moved with his family to the USA, where both of his children still live. He taught and pursued academic research in the United States. He also held the position of Director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, later developing the links between academia and commerce and initiating the establishment of several laboratories. He holds several academic honors and is an honorary member of several foreign academies of sciences. Own the title of “fellow”, a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. After 1989, he resumed his trips to Czechoslovakia, lecturing as part of the TOKEN project at Czech universities. After the death of his wife, he met his current partner and moved permanently to Rumburk in the Northern Bohemia.