“In April 1943 my father and uncle were sent to Terezín, and after a week taken from there to Auschwitz, after another half a year to Buchenwald, then after a month to the camp Dora-Sangerhausen. When the end of the war approached, they were transported to the camp Bergen-Belsen. Dad worked for the company Hoch-Tief during his internment in Bergen-Belsen. He was released on May 31 from the assembly camp in Celle near Hanover. When he returned, his health deteriorated. Nobody returned from concentration camps in good physical condition. Even when they heard the subtlest sound, former prisoner would turn their heads to see if there was some informer or a German officer walking behind them. That was not so much in case of my dad, he has coped fairly well with the situation, but others suffered from this for a long time. I didn’t ask my father about his experiences from the concentration camps, he only said something when he himself wanted to. I remember that he told us that while in Auschwitz, the later Polish Prime Minister Cyrankiewicz once slammed him so hard that he fell to the ground. It was something similar to Antonín Zápotocký, when the later Dutch accused him of being a kapo in Buchenwald, and treating the prisoners just like Cyrankiewicz. Dad also recalled that he was picking cigarette stubs, which smokers threw away in the prison’s yard, with a pointed stick, and then rolling them into cigarettes for uncle. Dad himself smoked cigars, but he was able to live in the prison without them.”
Father told us that while in Auschwitz, Cyrankiewicz, who later became the Polish Prime Minister, slammed him so hard that he fell to the ground
Jaroslav Hnátek was born July 1, 1925 in Slaný. His godfather was factory-owner Jan Jaroslav Pála. His father Antonín worked as the director of the factory Palaba. He and his brother were arrested for providing support for the families of Czech army officers during WWII. He was interned in concentration camps in Auschwitz, Dora and Bergen-Belsen. The family friend JUDr. Haken was executed by the Nazis during the war. Jaroslav attended school in Slaný. After graduation from grammar school in 1944, he went to study the Civil Engineering University in Prague after the war, but after one semester he transferred to the Business University, which shortly after changed its name to the University of Economic Sciences (present-day University of Economics). He specialized in international logistics. After graduation in 1951 he began working as an export planner in the ČKD Slaný factory. In October 1951 he began working in the Head Administration of the Ministry of Machinery Industry in Prague, but he eventually had to leave this position due to his unfavourable personal evaluation. He then found emplyoment in the State Material Research Institute, from where he retired in 1990.