Felix Kolmer, Terezin and Auschwitz survivor, dies age 100

Kolmer, former President of the International Auschwitz (survivors) Committee, said reaching age 100 was his way of defying the Nazis


Felix Kolmer, the former President of the International Auschwitz (survivors) Committee, passed away today in Prague at age 100.

He was believed to be one of the oldest Auschwitz survivors still alive. He said on his 100th birthday three months ago, at a small reception held to mark the publication of a book in Czech in his honour, that reaching that milestone was his way of defying those who wished to kill him over 70 years ago.

Kolmer was as sharp and lucid as ever right to the end. Only yesterday he was reminiscing on his time in the Czech scout movement pre-war and talking about his beloved mother, who he had to bury with his bare hands in Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, before Felix was deported on to Auschwitz. His grandmother and other relatives also died in Terezin.

Kolmer, who was also chairman of the Czech Holocaust survivors association, and a former deputy president of the Prague Jewish community, was born in Prague in 1922 and lived in the Czech capital all his life apart from the war years in the camps.

After the war he became an acoustics professor at the Czech Technical University and designed the sound system for the country’s biggest concert halls including the world-renowned Rudolfinum in Prague.

I had the great pleasure to meet Felix on a number of occasions over the last 20 years usually in the company of his close family member Misha Rozov or at a series of lunches with the Israeli ambassador. Felix was always positive, lively and engaging when we discussed world affairs and other matters. Despite all he had experienced he always maintained a degree of optimism and kept looking at the better side of life. He was a lovely man, very courteous and polite to me and others. A gentleman of the old school.

He is survived by Vera, his companion of 40 years.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive