Remembering my Great Grandfather Emil Kornitzer.
Last month, on Holocaust Memorial Day, I wrote how losing family in the Holocaust created deep sorrow and trauma for my grandmother but from this grew resilience and determination. It remains important to me that we do not forget those murdered.
Born on the 27th of May 1885, Emil lived in Brno and later met and married Helene Burstein on 9 June 1912. They stayed in that town and had 2 children, Walter and my grandmother Alice.
On 5 Dec 1941, Emil and Helene were transported from Bruno (Brunn) to Terezin Ghetto (Theresienstadt). Their transport was marked with a “K, which indicated they were Jewish citizens from Brno.
Emil tragically died in Terezin on 26 February 1942 and exactly 8 months later Helene was transported to Auschwitz. On 26th October 1942 Helene Kornitizer arrived in Auschwitz age 54. The records stop. Helene was murdered by the Nazis.
When I was young, I knew very little of what happened to my mother’s grandparents other than they died in the Holocaust. Then some 30 or so years later, when our daughter was in primary school, I was able in a matter of hours to find records via google. Ironically, the German record-keeping was so detailed that I have been able to also discover the fate of many of our extended family. Emil’s death certificate below confirms that he died 78 years ago this week.
I continue to be grateful that they ensured Walter and Alice came to the UK before Hilter sent them to Terezin and I am proud to be part of their legacy that lives on.