Bruntal - My Father's Hometown
"The last two blogs were downbeat. I don't want the reader to think that my birthday journey was some kind of pilgrimage to the 'camps' Auschwitz & Terezin where my father's family died. These were side journeys, the reason for this trip was to celebrate my birthday where I was born and lived for the first 18 months of my life".
Bruntal was the highlight of my journey. Bruntal Czech RepublicMain Square
I had contacted the Mayor of Bruntal, Petr Rys, before my trip, and had been invited to meet with him at the town hall. I didn't know what to expect... perhaps a handshake and a brief conversation.
The greeting was beyond anything I could imagine.
"Surprise"Meeting Petr Rys The Mayor of Bruntal 'ALTVATER'One gift was a drink my father liked.
Petr treated me as a long lost friend and gave me gifts and a luncheon in his office. There was a local historian Pavel Rapusak and an interpreter and even a crew from the local TV station. We staged a 'surprise' meeting after the first hellos. I was asked to got out and re enter the office and act surprised for the cameras.
Lunch in the Mayors Office Looking at my father's documents
Everyone was so friendly and interested in my story that Vaclav Pospisil the interpreter, who's English was faultless, had difficulty keeping up with their questions and my answers. I had my father's documents, from his time in Bruntal. Pavel Rapisak, who is Chairman of the Club for Old Bruntal, asked for copies so he could research my family history. Pavel spends his retirement researching the history of Bruntal. He has promised to tell me what he discovers.
Sharing my father's documents with Pavel Interviewed by local TV station
I spent the afternoon with Pavel and Vaclav Pospisil walking around Bruntal.
BruntalThe old town seen through the communist era apartment blocks.
He showed me the town and the changes under the communists.
The new and the old Bruntal
BruntalCommunist era apartment blocks BruntalOld Linen factory.
BruntalSome buildings are in bad shape BruntalCommunist era apartment blocks
The Château of Bruntál Bruntal
Pavel Rapusak.Chairman of the Cub for old Bruntal and local patriot
I really connected with Pavel even talking through an interpreter. Pavel is a keen amateur photographer we have the same Pentax Camera.
He showed me buildings and areas, that perhaps, where my father had lived and worked.
BruntalPossibly the Kohn Office Building BruntalPerhaps the Kohn family home, now a kindergarten
Before Vaclav, the interpreter had to leave, Pavel invited me to meet with his photographer friends in a local ‘Chinese restaurant’.
Pavel Rapusak.Beer with Pavel and his photographer friends. Photography was are only common language
Later in the day I met Pavel and a group of his amateur photographers friends. Although we had no common language other than photography we communicated by showing pictures to each other they had prints and I the screen on the back of my cameras. After a lot of laughs and a few beers, mine being non alcoholic, I drove back to my hotel in Krnov.
"Even non-alcoholic Czech beer tastes good".
I stayed in Krnvo, 20 km from Bruntal and drove to and from Bruntal through the countryside.
The road to Bruntal The road to Bruntal
Fields of Rape seed The Bruntal - Krnov road
The landscape and people made me realise why Sigi(my father) liked living in Howth, Ireland and retired to the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.
Keywords: Czech Republic
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