Interviewer: Rick Marcuse & Molly Winston
In 1942, Dr. Ferdinand Knobloch, a non-Jew, married his first wife Susanne in Prague. This prevented her from being sent to the gas chambers with her parents. However, after their marriage Susanne was caught by the Gestapo. She died on November 25, 1943 in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
RM: So is this to say that Susanna’s parents were both very assimilated as well…?
FK: Yes, yes.
RM: Were they practicing Jews do you know?
FK: No, they were not.
RM: Would they have been agnostic? Or atheist or…?
FK: No, I don’t know. But actually I’m, even, I’m not informed, I think they were just…I don’t recall that they ever visited the synagogue so…
RM: Okay. Do you recall Vituzslav’s work? Susanna’s father’s work?
FK: Oh sure. He was owner of a shop in Prague, the, the, the most precious carpets…the Persian carpets. By the way, you know the brother of Susanne after the war who came once to our apartment his first statement was, “This is our carpet.”
RM: Right, that occurred to you recently didn’t it, because you’d forgotten that I think until recently.
FK: Oh well no I didn’t forget. You know, and I was, I could have after the war, I could claim because it was big property, big business the carpets and her parents died earlier than she so she inherited the entire…I could have claimed, I never claimed anything, I could have part of that property, of that business…
RM: Of her family, the family’s estate. Right I understand. Well okay, so you met Susanna at some point when she’s in the communist youth group, you may have been a teenager, you may have been in your early 20s…
FK: Yeah, yes.
RM: You end up later on marrying her.
FK: Yes. I married her when it was clear that if she, I not marry her she would go with her parents, and her parents obviously died in gas chamber, they have the same date, which I have upstairs the dates.
RM: 1942, sometime in June I think, or whenever.
RM: So can you recall the year in which you met Susanna? Or can you recall when your relationship began to become more intimate, because you marry her in ’41, am I right?
FK: ’42. ’41 or ’42 I can’t say but it was obvious that either I marry her or she goes.
RM: Right. And how long had you known her at that point?
FK: How long? I would say ’41, I must say 5, 6 years, I think. So she was probably 15 or so…
BS: Vivian, you talked about how you met your husband...
VG: We were married in the Schara Tzedeck, Rabbi Hier married us and then what was really nice is my older daughter was married in the Schara Tzedeck as well and there’s a photograph that was taken at my wedding looking down you know at the bimah and I asked the photographer at my daughter’s wedding to take the same photograph and it’s just a very nice tradition to have us married in the same spot. And my marriage did change my life because my husband is Orthodox and so we adopted an Orthodox life and I decided if I was going to be living this way I’d better investigate and see what it was about, and my husband’s also very scholarly and very knowledgeable in Judaic so I did this project of really learning the Tanah, going right through and to my amazement instead of just doing it because that was a promise I made to my husband I found it very meaningful. And I find living the Orthodox lifestyle, and it’s not an ultra-Orthodox, it’s a very modern Orthodox lifestyle but I find it extremely meaningful and rewarding and both of my children grew up that way and to my delight both married Orthodox young men and really it matters to both of them to continue that traditional lifestyle so really I think it’s made us much happier as a family and so I’m quite grateful for it.