Kurt Jellinek

1925-2003

(click photo to enlarge)

 

Kurt was born in March 1925 in Brno (aka Brünn), Czechoslovakia, to Artur and Irma Pollock Jellinek. Kurt’s grandfather, Eduard Jellinek, born in 1852, was Siegmund Jellinek’s older brother. Artur Jellinek was the manager of the B.U. bank in Brno before the Holocaust.

Siegmund Jellinek officiated at Kurt’s Brit Milah (ritual circumcision), but the Anschluss prevented Siegmund from leading Kurt’s July 1938 Bar Mitzvah service. Kurt was deported to Theresienstadt in January 1942 and imprisoned there until May 1944. His chances of survival in this concentration camp were relatively good because of his youthful strength and work as a welder, which gave him some additional access to the kitchen and food. Kurt attended the 1942 Yom Kippur service that Siegmund led in Theresienstadt, and he is the source of my information about this event.1

Kurt’s 1995 - 97 letters to me also revealed that Siegmund met with his brother, Eduard, in Theresienstadt, and that Eduard died about two weeks before Siegmund. Kurt remembered “that he [ Siegmund] was already very sick...when Siegmund took part in Eduard’s funeral.” Kurt’s parents were killed in Auschwitz in July 1944 “...a few days after I and my younger brother Hans left.” Hans, who was also imprisoned in Theresienstadt and in several forced labor and death camps, was shot at the age of sixteen “...during [his attempted] escape from the death march, near the Czech border in January 1945!”2

After surviving Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau, Kurt came to Israel in 1946. He married Miri Rosenbaum, also a survivor and born in what was then Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). Kurt owned and worked in his welding and machine repair shop in Afula, Israel, for most of the rest of his life. He contributed his skilled labor to the restoration work at the Beit She’an archeological site and also created decorative stained glass lamps and panels. Kurt was survived by Miri, their two adult daughters, sons-in-law and ten grandchildren, when he died in his sleep at home in Afula, following strokes, in 2003.

 

1. Kurt’s memories of this service, written in his 1995 and 1997 letters to the present writer, will appear on this website in the future. A brief description appears now on Siegmund Jellinek’s biography page.

2. Quotations in this paragraph from Kurt ‘s letters of April 22, 1997 and June 14, 1995, respectively.

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