This is a photograph of my mother, Irma Lauscherova, nee Kohnova, with her brother, Jiri Kohn. It’s likely a studio photograph that was taken sometime during 1911 or 1912, probably in their home town of Hermanuv Mestec.
My mother was born in 1904 in Hermanuv Mestec in the Chrudim region. It was a Czech region, even her parents were already purely Czech-speaking Jews. My mother attended Czech schools and graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague. She actually didn’t have a PhD, just state exams, and then went to work as a teacher right away. She became a teacher at a Jewish school on Jachymova Street in Prague. She began teaching Grade 1 while she was still at university.
My mother had a brother, Jiri, born in 1909. He graduated from electrical engineering, and worked with radios. At first he repaired them, then he set up a workshop and in England he had a store that sold and repaired radios. He married a Czech woman that had two children, Mirek and Zdenka. Her name was Marie, and she was the niece of Antonin Zapotocky. They had another two children together, Petr and Pavel. Right after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939, Jiri emigrated to England. Marie still managed to join him with the children. After her death in 1960, he remarried in England, to an English woman named Susan, and had one more son, Simon.
Due to his departure, I barely know Jiri. Really, I only got to know him for the first time when he came to Prague after the war for the first postwar All-Sokol Slet [Meet]. Then he didn’t return here until 1968. I’m in regular written and occasionally even personal contact with Jiri’s children. Except for Mirek, that is, who died about two years ago. Uncle Jiri died in England in 1984.