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Robert Bardfeld (1925) - Biography


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Imagine what it had to be like for the parents

 

Prof. MUDr. Robert Bardfeld, CSc., was born June 10, 1925 in Dobřichovice near Prague. Due to his father's job as a mechanical engineer the family often moved and Robert thus spent his childhood in Prague, Most, and finally in Roudnice nad Labem. He also had to change schools several times and he attended elementary schools in Prague-Smíchov and in Prague-Vršovice and then the grammar school in Most and later in Roudnice nad Labem. It was here that he and other students were arrested on June 20, 1942 for alleged planning of the assassination of oberlehrer Bauer, the principal of the German school in Roudnice. Although Robert Bardfeld was not involved in this plot, he and the other students were taken to the Small Fortress in Terezín. He was interrogated here and as a prisoner he had to work on the construction of a swimming pool for the Small Fortress commander Jöckl. Later he commuted to Ústí nad Labem to work on the railways and to Lovosice to work in a chemical factory there. Most of the students were released after three months, but for various reasons several of them, including Robert Bardfeld, were sent to concentration camps. Together with five other schoolmates he was transported via Leipzig, Halle an der Salle and Weimar to Buchenwald, where he spent further three years from October 8, 1942 to May 11, 1945. At first he was assigned to the penal work division (Strafkompanie), which had to do the most demanding jobs. Robert was sent to work in a quarry, but he became ill and was admitted to the Buchenwald hospital. The head doctor supported him and issued him a false confirmation that he was unable to work, arranging for Robert to stay and help out in the hospital laboratory. After three months, Robert was released from the Strafkompanie and allowed to work in the laboratory "legally." After the liberation of the Buchenwald camp by the U. S. army on May 11, 1945, he continued serving in the laboratory and returned home as late as May 20, 1945. He passed the graduation exam in the same year after attending a fast-track course for young people whose studies had been interrupted by the war. In 1945 he began studying medicine. He completed his studies in 1950 and began working in Písek in the department of internal medicine and in the pediatric department. His medical career was only interrupted for two years when he did his compulsory military service. Then he returned to Písek and subsequently transferred to Prague where he was offered a position in the Institute of Rheumatology. He continued working there even past his retirement age. He successfully passed the academic examinations and was awarded the degrees candidate of sciences, associate professor and professor. He had married his former fellow student from the Roudnice grammar school before doing his military service, and he now lives with his wife in Prague.

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