Rudolf Grossmann

* 1924

  • “We knew for sure there were transports. I remember one thing - that in case we would have to leave... Those were transports for labouring in Poland, we knew that. We rehearsed what to take with us. I remember my father trying out what he could fit in a pack, he took an enormous pack, he had it on his back. That was like a rehearsal, to see how it’d go. But that was for doing labour in Poland.”

  • “I studied for two years, that is, 1946 and 1947. I knew there was fighting in Israel, and I knew wouldn’t be let out of Czechoslovakia, because [my service] was deferred due to my studies. So I quit studying. Or rather, I did six semesters in two years, but that’s it, that’s my whole academy. I was drafted into the military, I served at the railway brigade, which was in Pardubice. It’s been dissolved.”

  • “In February 1948 there were various delegates from Palestine who were looking for recruits to the Haganah. The Haganah is the predecessor of the Cahal [the Israeli Defence Forces, IDF]. So I signed up in February, and I expected them to... I volunteered. I was eligible for a passport at the time, and I expected them to phone me. But they didn’t, not by phone. So I got on my motorbike and rode six hours to Prague. They had an office there, called Merkaz he-chaluc, Centre of the Chaluc - of pioneers - that was the rudiment of an embassy. It was the unofficial embassy of the Israeli movement, and you can’t imagine how they classified me there. There was a small Pole there, and he said, looking at my papers: ‘So you’ll be a pilot.’ I say: ‘Look, I wear glasses, I’ve got bad eyesight, pilots need to see well.’ - ‘You know what, you’ll be in a tank crew.’ I say: ‘You really think I’ll squeeze into that can, I’m too big.’ - ‘Then you’ll be an aircraft mechanic.’ So around 20 June I enlisted at the MVSA in Liberec, the Military Vocational School of Aviation, it doesn’t exist any more.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Tel Aviv, Izrael, 19.11.2015

    délka: 01:02:49
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Memory of nations (in co-production with Czech television)
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

„I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for your planes.“

fff.jpg (historic)
Rudolf Grossmann
zdroj: dobová archiv pamětníka, současná natáčení ED

Rudolf Grossmann was born on the 25th of June, 1924 as the second child of a Jewish family in Žilina. His father had a shop that sold fashion wear while his mother kept the home. Rudolf attended a Jewish folk school and then a grammar school, from which he was expelled in 1939 for being Jewish. His older sister Aliza (1920-1993) moved to Palestine in 1938, where she studied at the Hebrew University and later found employment. His father died in summer 1943. After his death in autumn 1943 and until the end of the war, Rudolf and his mother hid in Slovakia to avoid deportation, they were liberated in Nitra in May 1945. After the war, Rudolf and his mother returned to Žilina. Rudolf passed his graduation exam, and in autumn 1945 he began studying civil engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He discontinued his studies after two years because he planned to move to Israel. In 1947, he began his compulsory military service, in February 1948 he volunteered into the Israeli army, the Haganah. He underwent training as an aircraft mechanic at the Military Vocational School of Aircraft Mechanics in Liberec, and in April 1949, he legally immigrated to Israel. He was demobilised in August 1950 and later that year he married. He took part in the wars of 1956 and 1973 as an aircraft mechanic. He worked as a technician at Mekorot, which builds waterworks; in 1961-1964, he worked in Nigeria and later in Niger. After returning to Israel, he worked as a technician where he started his own company in 1985. Rudolf Grossmann is retired and lives with his wife in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel near Tel Aviv.