Photo taken in:JihlavaYear when photo was taken:1939Country name at time of photo:Czechoslovakia, 1918-1938Country name today:Czech Republic
The photograph shows my father Fritz Neumann in the year 1939. It was taken in Jihlava.
My father was born in Smrcna in 1891. He had two siblings, his sister Marta and his brother Richard. Richard died at a very young age. My father's parents didn't give him a religious upbringing. I don't even know if he was circumcised. I don't think that there was even a synagogue or prayer hall in the village he was from. Smrcna was a small village. I don't know if all households had electricity and running water, but my father's parents for sure did. In time they moved from Smrcna to Jihlava.
Father didn't go to school, but was very educated and talented. I would say that he was self-taught; he educated himself. In the factory he made all the glass designs himself. The materials were purchased at a glassworks and he did all the product design details himself; he was like an artist. In Jihlava they elected him as a people's judge, commercial counselor. I think that he was someone important in the town; otherwise they would have never chosen him for such a function. His mother tongue was German, and with us children he also spoke exclusively German.
My father was a large man, with black hair and blue eyes, handsome. When he went to the factory he dressed like the workers: knickerbockers and a short jacket. He would always say that a person shouldn't set himself apart from the people he worked with but that he had to fit in among them. My father also applied this philosophy when it came to dressing his children. We dressed pretty plainly; we weren't to stick out from the crowd. For evenings out though, my father would dress up. He would put on an elegant tuxedo.
The Gestapo in Jihlava confiscated our villa in 1939 and made it into their staff headquarters. My father's life ended tragically: he died in Auschwitz in 1944