On 5 August 2022, the Czech-Jewish Auschwitz survivor and vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee, Professor Felix Kolmer, passed away at the age of 100 in Prague.
Felix Kolmer was deported to Theresienstadt in 1941 and to Auschwitz in 1944, and was liberated at the age of 23 in a sub-camp of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp. After the war, he studied physics and later taught as a world-renowned acoustician at the Technical University in Prague. He was an advocate of German-Czech reconciliation and initiated meetings and dialogue with German youth.
Commenting on Felix Kolmer's death in Berlin, Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee, emphasised:
"Felix Kolmer had decided very soon after his liberation from the camps never to let his life be poisoned by hatred, although he had lost his mother and other relatives in Theresienstadt and other camps. For many years, Felix Kolmer sought dialogue with young people in Germany and other European countries as a contemporary witness and did not shy away from discussions with right-wing extremists. His commitment to reconciliation between Czechs and Germans found expression in his many years of involvement in the German-Czech Future Fund. Until the last months of his life, Felix Kolmer was one of the most important and credible bridge-builders in the dialogue between Czechs and Germans. His advocacy for the compensation of all survivors of the German concentration and extermination camps and the forced labourers also remains unforgotten by many of his comrades in fate. As chairman of the Cologne-based Counselling Centre for Nazi Persecutees, he stood up for many years for the interests of people who had suffered the same fate as he. Felix Kolmer was a recipient of the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Saxon Order of Merit and other high honours.
Auschwitz survivors did farewell with great sadness to their fellow sufferer and companion Felix Kolmer, a great contemporary witness and humanitarian. They will never forget how Felix Kolmer, with his quiet and persistent kindness, succeeded in bringing people together and letting them share the memories and experiences of all Holocaust survivors. Deeply influenced by his lifelong roots in the scout movement, Felix Kolmer was a motivator and networker even into his old age, always setting people in motion on their way to each other. Felix Kolmer will be bitterly missed in our current struggles in the face of the development of anti-Semitism and far-right hatred."