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Group portrait of Czech Jews vacationing in the Karlsbad spa.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 60369

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    Group portrait of Czech Jews vacationing in the Karlsbad spa.
    Group portrait of Czech Jews vacationing in the Karlsbad spa.

Pictured in the center are Elsa Krasa and her sister, Rosa Feldstein.  In front of them are their children Olga Feldstein and Edgar Krasa.

    Overview

    Caption
    Group portrait of Czech Jews vacationing in the Karlsbad spa.

    Pictured in the center are Elsa Krasa and her sister, Rosa Feldstein. In front of them are their children Olga Feldstein and Edgar Krasa.
    Date
    1927
    Locale
    Karlovy Vary, [Bohemia] Czechoslovakia
    Variant Locale
    Karlsbad
    Carlsbad
    Czech Republic
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Edgar and Hana Krasa

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Edgar and Hana Krasa

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Edgar Krasa is the son of Alois and Elsa Krasa. He was born in 1924 in Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia, where his father worked as a salesman. In 1933 his family moved to Prague. In the late 1930s after the institution of anti-Semitic legislation, which interrupted his formal education, Edgar needed to learn a trade. At his aunt's suggestion, he became an apprentice chef, reasoning that with such a trade he would never go hungry. Edgar remained in Prague after the outbreak of World War II. In 1941 after he was dismissed from his job, Edgar went to work as a cook for a refugee shelter for Polish Jews that was run by Karl Schliesser. Later that year, Schliesser was appointed head of the economics section of the newly established Theresienstadt ghetto, and he requested that Edgar join him there to organize the kitchens. In return, Edgar was promised that his parents would be exempt from deportation to the east. (In fact, though Edgar's parents were ultimately sent to Theresienstadt, they were not deported to Auschwitz.) Edgar joined Aufbaukommando (AK1), the initial group of 342 men who came to Theresienstadt on November 24, 1941 to renovate the garrison. (The first deportees arrived six days later.) He assumed responsibility for setting up the two kitchens and training workers to staff them. Edgar designed menus based on the few ingredients available: ersatz coffee, potatoes, flour and a synthetic soup mix. He roomed with Raphael Schaechter, a pianist and choral conductor, who kept up the morale of the other workers by leading them in Czech choral music in the evenings. During his imprisonment in Theresienstadt, Schaechter conducted several operas and numerous performances of Verdi's Requiem. He selected the mass for political reasons, because of its discussion of a final judgment and accounting for sins. Krasa participated in all sixteen performances of the mass, singing bass in the chorus. Krasa also became friendly with several of the artists in the ghetto, including Leo Haas and Fritz Taussig (Fritta), to whom he slipped extra rations in exchange for their drawings. On September 24, 1944 Schleisser was deported to Auschwitz on a transport of 2,500 skilled and able-bodied Jews. Krasa was sent the following week on October 1. From Auschwitz, Krasa was sent to the Gleiwitz labor camp, where he worked as a welder. When the camp was evacuated on January 19, 1945, Krasa was put on a forced march, from which he escaped three days later. He hid in a ditch, and the following day was liberated by Soviet troops. On May 1 Edgar returned to Prague and then proceeded to Theresienstadt, where he was reunited with his parents. Together they went back to Prague, where Edgar met and later married Hana Fuchs, a fellow survivor from Prague. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Edgar served as the chef at the Israeli embassy in Prague for two years. In 1950 he and his wife left Czechoslovakia illegally and immigrated to Israel.

    Hana Fuchs (now Krasa) is the daughter of Oskar and Rosa Fuchs. She was born September 24, 1923 in Prague, where her father worked as a chemist and CEO of a major food corporation, ODKOLEIK. Hana had one brother, Jiri (b. April 4, 1921). The children were raised in an assimilated Jewish home. Hana attended a public grammar school and then a private gymnasium until the enactment of anti-Jewish legislation forced her to leave. She then was taught by private tutors. Hana spoke a fluent German since her parents believed that all educated people should speak at least two languages. All the members of the Fuchs family were deported to Theresienstadt during World War II. Hana's grandmother arrived in Theresienstadt in June 1942 but died six weeks later of dysentery on August 26, 1942. Hana was deported in July 1942 and was given work splitting mica. As this was very difficult work for her, she was later detailed to work in the German vegetable gardens outside the garrison walls. Although the workers were watched very carefully, Hana would often eat the ripened vegetables in the gardens. When her brother Jiri came to Theresienstadt, he was assigned work in the bakery, which also allowed him to get extra food for himself and the family. Hana's parents, Oskar and Rosa, arrived in Theresienstadt in November 1942. Since her father was friendly with Otto Zucker, the former deputy head of the Aeltestenrat (Jewish council), he was appointed head of the economic police in the ghetto. His role was to oversee the distribution of food. His connections, however, did not ultimately protect him and his family. On October 28, 1944 Rosa was sent on the last transport to Auschwitz, where she perished. Oskar was taken off the same train and brought, along with nineteen other men, to the Small Fortress, a prison outside the ghetto walls. There he was tasked with emptying the urns of ashes of cremated prisoners, and when the task was completed, he was shot. On the day of Jiri's deportation from Theresienstadt, he married his fiancé, Hana Elsner, in an attempt to remain with her. She, however, was not deported and remained in Theresienstadt until the liberation. Jiri survived Auschwitz and was reunited with his wife in Prague after the war. Hana also remained in the camp until the end of the war. After the liberation, Hana went back to Prague, where she met and later married Edgar Krasa, a fellow survivor from Prague. In 1950 they left Czechoslovakia illegally and immigrated to Israel.
    Record last modified:
    2004-10-21 00:00:00
    This page:
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