Prague/Dresden (dpa/sn) - Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer thought of the late Czech Holocaust survivor and physicist Felix Kolmer as a role model in his commitment to democracy and against right-wing extremism. The Czech physics professor survived the hell of Auschwitz and spent his life campaigning against forgetting the Nazi crimes, the CDU politician said on Saturday.
The International Auschwitz Committee announced the death of 100-year-old Kolmer on Friday. "Especially in Saxon schools, he was a frequent guest, reported on his terrible experiences and taught humanity and historical responsibility," emphasized Kretschmer. For this, Kolmer was honored with the Saxon Order of Merit in 2018.
Kolmer was born on May 3, 1922 into an assimilated Jewish family in Prague. The German occupiers deported the young carpenter's apprentice to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1941 as part of the so-called reconstruction commando. His mother died there. According to his own statement, Kolmer discovered an escape route in Terezin, but did not use it himself to escape. Instead, he passed on his knowledge to fellow prisoners. In 1944 he was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, where he jumped on a train to the Friedland satellite camp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. There he experienced the end of the war.
"You can't forgive murder," Kolmer once said in retrospect. After the war he found his wife Liana, whom he had married in Theresienstadt. He studied and became a recognized expert in the field of acoustics. He published around 200 scientific articles and books. From 1982 to 2017 Kolmer taught as a professor in the department of audio engineering at the Prague film school FAMU.