Human being is a human being. No matter where he lives or his nationality
Bernard Papánek, who took name Benjamin Palgi after moving to Israel, was born on March 17th 1920 in Vienna. As a six-months old baby, he was taken by his mother to her parents in Vracov na Moravě, where he lived a happy childhood. As a six years old boy, he joined his parents in Vienna, where he graduated from a business school. After the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in the summer of 1938, he left for Brno where his strived finding a job. Due to his father´s Jewish origin and Slovak nationality, he had been deported to the Slovak border, after that he was hiding at his father´s relatives in Brno and in 1939 he managed to emigrate to Palestine. There he joined Czechoslovak armed forces serving under British command. After completing his military training in Haifa, he fought at Tobruk serving in an anti-aircraft battery. In 1943, he had been transferred to the United Kingdom with other Czechoslovak troops. In Liverpool, he met president Edvard Beneš. Since the fall of 1944, he joined the siege of Dunkerque; on December 19th 1944, he was gravely wounded and was treated at a Canadian field hospital. Apart from his brother and one of his uncles, all his relatives perished during the war. He moved to Palestine with a friend; on June 29th 1946 he witnessed British troops raid in kibbutz Yagur, later known as the “Black Sabbath”. He was arrested but as a Czechoslovak army member he had been released by the authorities. Jewish resistance fighters considered him a traitor and kidnapped him, but Bernard managed to escape and with the help of British officials he left Palestine. He settled down in Brno and began to teach English and German. After some time, he found out that he had been under secret police surveillance. He married in 1961. In 1964, after getting a permit to visit an uncle in Vienna, he and his wife decided to emigrate to Israel. He joined his brother working for the El Al Israeli Airlines and became an Israeli citizen. Since 2014, he has been living in Slovakia with his step-daughter Viera.