The Victory of Life
René Rechnitz was born on 19 May 1921 in Teplice into a Jewish family as the elder of two sons. His father Herrmann ran a business with clothes while his mother Grete was a housewife. At home, they spoke German. René‘s parents got divorced when he was still young, his mother re-married and lived with her new husband in Trutnov. In 1936, his father committed suicide. René attended schools in Litoměřice, Trutnov and in 1935, began an apprenticeship in a clothes shop in Prague. After the annexation of the Sudetenland by Germany, his mother with her parents also moved to Prague. In 1938, his younger brother Gerhard left for Palestine. René followed him illegally with the Zionist group Betar in October 1939. He travelled via Bratislava, Romania and Turkey, landing in the port of Haifa on 29 February 1940. He had spent six months in an internment camp before he was let in the country. For a short while, he lived in a kibbutz and then moved to Tel Aviv where he worked in a grocery store ran by his uncle, which he had later taken over. In Tel Aviv, he built a renowned deli and later worked for the food company Strauss. His mother and much of his family were murdered during the war. René Rechnitz had widowed twice, brought up three children and has been together with his present wife Chava for more than forty years.