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Major General (ret.) Ivan Otto Schwarz (1923 - 2018) - Biography

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I survived – it was good luck

Retired Major General Ivan Otto Schwarz was born on December 11, 1923, in Bratislava in Czechoslovakia. He spent his childhood in the family of a Jewish lawyer in the city of Bytča, where he devoted himself to swimming and water polo, and where he also attended primary school. Subsequently, he attended grammar school in Spišská Nová Ves and then transferred to another grammar school in Žilina. In February 1939 – thanks to contacts of his father to Lord Newborough – he was able to go to England, where he at first studied and later worked at a farm where he was supposed to gain knowledge about the production of goat cheese. The plan was that he would later on stand on his own feet, but his business plans were defeated by the war. In 1939, he joined the British Army and on July 13, 1940, he was transferred to the Czechoslovak military units. At the time of entering the English army, he didn't reach the eligible age for military service, yet. However, this lie was only revealed by the time he had already transferred to the Czechoslovak units. As he had been already mobilized by then, he went through various military courses. Finally, in 1940 he joined the 311th Squadron, where he served as a radio operator and gunner. The most significant events Ivan Schwarz had witnessed are connected to the sinking of the German transport ship Alsterufer and to the participation in Operation Overlord. Later on, he also served with the 168th and the 147th Squadrons. It was in these formations where he escorted ships to the port of Murmansk. His parents spent the war at labor camps and then went into hiding in the Slovak mountains. After the war, Ivan Schwarz returned to Czechoslovakia, but because of his opposition to the form of the local political establishment there, he went back to England in 1946. In England, he married the following year and devoted himself to business in the field of railway transportation. His sister and mother later came to England as well and lived there with him. Ivan Otto Schwarz passed away on January, 2018

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