Anna Küchlerová 1857-1926

Pavel Küchler
Irma Rosenfeldová
Gertruda Schindlerová

Anna married Theodor Küchler, native of Brocno in the Litoměřice region. Theodor Küchler was a dealer in grain and also ran a pub in Brocno. Theodor and Anna gave birth to three children: Pavel, Irma and Gertruda.

Pavel and his Czech spouse, Matylda, were living in Karlovy Vary where their daughter, Lotta was born. They earned a living by trading in glass and china ware. In September 1938, they left Karlovy Vary and fled to the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia before the occupation of Sudetenland by the German army. They tried to unsuccessfully emigrate. Their ancestry came to an end in February 1942 when all three went to Theresienstadt and after 37 days, proceeded to Izbica in Poland.

Postcard of Brocno, 1930 – of a personal archive of Zdenek Fort

Irma united her life with Artur Rosenfeld, supervisor of the Czechoslovak Railway. Artur’s cousin, Max Brod, was an important Prague Jewish author writing in German and was friends of Franz Kafka. The Rosenfelds did not have any descendants. They were deported to Theresienstadt by the same transport as the Küchlers. They spent just 52 days there and then they were deported to Piaski. Piaski used to be a transit station to extermination camps in Poland as well.

For a short time, their fate drifted Gertruda and her husband, Max Schindler, to Horní Žleb by Děčín. Max worked as a wholesale representative in glassmaking and Gertruda was his assistant. They also left the Sudetenland before the occupation. They tried to immigrate to Shanghai because it was possible to travel there without a visa, which was accessible for many people. However, they did not successfully get away. The Schindlers were the first in the family who left for Theresienstadt in January 1942. After 88 days, they went on to Zamosc. Provided they did not die in the ghetto, they were deported to one of the extermination camps in the surroundings. The family story, however, does not end as hopelessly as it could seem. Max and Gertruda had two daughters, Hanne and then Lilly nine years later. As their parents did not have many other possibilities of how to save their whole family, they strived to get their children to safety.

In 1939, Hanne was a sixteen-year old courageous girl. She left for England by herself and earned a living as an au-pair.

Lilly was only seven and was not able to travel by herself. Her parents decided to act with unique courage. On June 30, 1939, they enabled Lilly to leave by the Winton’s transport to England. Hanne wrote that: “It was their last act of unreserved self-sacrifice and heroism”. The last Lilly’s memory of Prague was a poorly lit room at the railway station under the constant oversight of a German guard. Upon her arrival to England Lilly was placed in a home for Jewish children at Highbury in Finchley. There, she was the youngest one among about twenty girls. In September 1939, the children were evacuated to Perrenporth in Cornwall. It was not easy there either. It took some time before the children were accepted by local people. They spoke German and thus they were enemies to them.

Eventually, conflicts were smoothed and Lilly had some pleasant memories from there. She stayed in contact with some of the girls throughout her life. After the war, Hanne took care of her. They tried many times to find any member of their family, but they were not successful. They did not discover anybody. Therefore, they decided to stay in Cardiff where their families have been living to date and where we have found them. Hanne had been able to tell us her story before she died. Lilly began to talk about her childhood only after the story of Sir Winton had been published when her grandchildren began asking about it. She met with Sir Nicholas Winton. According to her daughter Marilyn, Hanne felt indebted for her rescue and wished to pay it back. She wished to give humankind what had been given to her thanks to Sir Winton. And she did many good things in her life.

Courageous parents
Today, families of Hanne and Lilly have many descendants, and in the case of Lilly, it is thanks to the courage of her parents to send their seven-year old child away and believe she would be okay. Both they and Sir Nicholas Winton deserve our respect.