Obit of the Day: Saved by Schindler
Kuba Beck, right, and his wife, Hela were two of the 1200 Jews saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler during World War II. The Becks, who both survived the initial invasion of Poland by Hitler’s blitzkrieg, found their options of survival dwindling as Krakow’s Jewish population was first segregated and then liquidated.
Mr. Beck was 17 at the time of the German invasion and studying to be an engineer. When the Nazis forbid Jews from attending university, Mr. Beck learned the skills to become a tool and die maker. The choice saved his life.
He was designated as vital to the war cause and pressed into service of the Nazis. Unfortunately his family was not so lucky and one day after he was led off to the factory, his entire family was arrested and transported to a concentration camp. He would never see them again.
In 1943 as the Nazis planned to remove the remaining Jews from the Krakow ghetto, Mr. Beck and his then-girlfriend Hela Brzeska were transferred to Mr. Schindler’s factory where they would be protected for the remainder of the war.
After failing to find surviving family members in Krakow after the surrender of German, the Becks snuck into Czechoslovakia before ending up in American-occupied Germany. There they married.
Kuba and Hela Beck moved to the United States in 1949. Mr. Beck worked as an engineer at IBM. After he retired the Becks would travel to schools and other public venues to tell about the experiences during the Holocaust.
Kuba Beck passed away at the age of 91 on November 5, 2013. His wife, Hela, died in 2008.
(Image of Kuba and Hela Beck, 1947, is courtesy of The Virtual Shtetl)
Other OOTD posts that may be of interest:
Berthold Bietz - German industrialist who saved 250 Jewish workers in his factory
Mietek Pemper - The man who typed up Schindler’s famous list