Guide to Otto Kraus papers
Finding aid prepared by Judith Janec
Tauber Holocaust Library
JFCS Holocaust Center
2245 Post Street
San Francisco, CA, 94115
Title: Otto Kraus papers
Identifier/Call Number: 1988.1147
Tauber Holocaust Library
Language of Material:
Container: Archives Box 4
0.1 Linear feet
containing three documents
Date: 1944-1945, undated
Language of Materials note:
All items have been translated into English from the original Czech. Translator unknown.
The Otto Kraus papers are comprised of two translated and transcribed letters and a translated account, describing the experiences
of two Czech Jewish families -- Kraus and Munk -- during the period of 1941-1944, when members of both families were deported
to Terezin and then Auschwitz concentration camps.
Scope and Contents note
The Otto Kraus papers include a translation and transcription of a letter written by Otto Kraus on July 17, 1944, smuggled
out of Auschwitz to Prague and intended to reach his parents in Terezin, in which Mr. Kraus pleads with his family to, under
no conditions, allow themselves to be transported from Terezin, but to run for their lives.
The papers also include a translated transcript of a letter written to Mr. Kraus by Honza Munk, perhaps a family member or
a friend, after the war, in June/July 1945, describing his experiences during the period of 1941-1944, beginning with the
suicide of his mother, his and his brother's deportation to Auschwitz from Terezin in October 1942, his brother Jindra's death
there, and his experiences until liberation. Further Munk family history is described in an undated account of Honza Munk's
life, focusing on the implementation of anti-Jewish laws in Czechoslovakia in September 19339; the account also includes a
transcription of his mother's suicide note, in which she explains that she could not endure the imminent suffering she saw
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Documents were donated by Golda Kaufman on March 7, 1986, who received them from her daughter.
Conditions Governing Use note
There are no restrictions to use for this collection.
Conditions Governing Access note
There are no restrictions to access for this collection.
The documents have been transcribed from the original handwritten letters.
Existence and Location of Originals note
Location of originals is unknown. Documents donated as copies.
Otto Kraus was a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp. A Czech citizen, he was deported with his family to Terezin (Theresienstadt)
concentration camp in May 1942, and from there to Auschwitz.
Honza Munk was born in 1922 in Prague to a middle class family. He was the younger of two sons; his older brother was named
Jindrich (Jindra). The family lived in Prague until the autumn of 1941 when they were scheduled for deportation. After the
family received deportation orders. Honza's mother took her life. In her suicide letter, she pleads for their forgiveness,
and ends it on this tragic, poignant note: "P.S. Look through your underwear and take only the good, new ones with you."
Honza and his brother Jindra were deported to Terezin in April 1942, and subsequently to Auschwitz in October 1942. Jindra
perished there on January 18, 1943. Honza survived, worked as a nurse, and was forced on a death marches in the winter of
1944. From Auschwitz he was sent to Buchenwald and then to a satellite camp in Berga. On April 18, 1944, Honza escaped the
camp and travelled to Prague. He survived to graduate school and make plans for an upcoming marriage. Further information
about his life is not available.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Auschwitz (Concentration camp).
Theresienstadt (Concentration camp).
Concentration camps -- Europe
Correspondence -- Europe
Jews -- Persecutions -- Czechoslovakia
Memoirs -- Czechoslovakia
Suicides -- Europe
World War, 1939-1945 -- Deportations from Czechoslovakia
World War, 1939-1945 -- Europe.
Otto Kraus letter
1944 July 17
Honza Munk letter
1945 June or July
Honza Munk account