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Oral history interview with Kurt Jilovsky

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1996.A.0586.39 | RG Number: RG-50.407.0039

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    Oral history interview with Kurt Jilovsky


    Interview Summary
    Kurt Jilovsky, born July 11, 1905 in Liberec, Czechoslovakia (now in Czech Republic), discusses his family; the small synagogue and Jewish community in Liberec; studying Talmud at his paternal grandfather’s house; the relations between Jews and non-Jews; his father’s work as a landscape photographer; his sister Greta who was born in 1908 (she was his only family member who survived the war); moving to Prague in 1910 and attending a government school; attending a convent school at first because it was best primary school in town; speaking German and Czech; growing up in an assimilated family; joining the Jewish boy scouts at age 11; becoming an ardent Zionist but not being religious; his father’s service in WWI; attending a grammar school; his bar mitzvah; conditions in Austria and Czechoslovakia; attending the Czech university of technology, studying economics; his first job at a Jewish-owned company that manufactured tin household articles and steel drums to transport petrol and chemicals; his life in the late 1920s; working for the Philips radio company; traveling to Berlin, Germany to attend a radio exposition after September 1938 and seeing Nazi Germany for the first time; spending three months in Holland in 1938-39 before going to Cyprus; spending two years in Cyprus, working for Phillips; the closing of Philips; trying to volunteer with the Czech Army; working for an orange grower in Cyprus; going to Haifa in 1941; his wife’s experiences during the war; volunteering for the British Army in Palestine; being sent to Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt; being part of a materials transport company; returning to Palestine for officers training school outside Haifa; being paid differently from his peers and reporting it to the British army newspaper; serving in Cairo and meeting Jews who spoke Yiddish; seeing King Lear performed in Yiddish in the Cairo Opera theater; the dispersal of the Jewish company and being stationed in Rome; being discharged from the army in Terranto, Italy; reuniting with his sister; returning to Prague; working for Philips again; going to Palestine and reuniting with his wife in 1946; working for Philips in Holland; going to Sydney, Australia in November 1948; and his feelings about his life.
    Kurt Jilovsky
    Pauline Rockman
    interview:  1996 March 17

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Jilovsky, Kurt, 1905-

    Administrative Notes

    Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre conducted the interview on March17, 1996, in Melbourne, Australia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum acquired the tape of the interview in July 1996.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:29:15
    This page:

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