Object: Photograph

Category: Peter Briess; Refugee; Czechoslovakia

Physical Description: Digital Copy of Photograph.

Image Use: Use of images owned by the National Holocaust Centre and Museum is governed by our Terms and Conditions.

This photograph belongs to Peter Briess, it shows Peter's paternal grandfather playing cards. Peter came to England from Czechoslovakia with his parents. The family fled increasing danger from the Nazi regime and persecution of Jewish people. 

Further Information

This photograph belongs to Peter Briess, it shows his paternal grandfather, Theodor, playing cards in 1937. Theodor was married to Paula, Peter’s paternal grandmother, and was known as Dori. He is seated the second from the left in the picture. Dori lived in Olomouc, in what was then Czechoslovakia, and after his father’s death in 1905 had taken over the running of their grain and seed trading company. Peter’s father, Hans, would later go on to join the business. As the family were Jewish they faced increasing danger from the rise of Nazism, and persecution of Jewish people. By early 1939 Peter’s father had determined the danger too great and had been planning to move the family out of Czechoslovakia, however troops from Nazi Germany arrived in Olomouc before they had left. By chance the Commandant of the troops desired to have the then Briess family home for himself, although at the time complying with the request and surrendering their property was essential, Peter’s father asked that the Commandant provide the family with exit visas in return for them leaving. This move was very brave as at that time not complying immediately with such a request was very dangerous. It saved the lives of Peter’s immediate family as Peter, his sister, and parents began their journey to England on 29 June 1939. However, many family members remained behind, including Dori and Paula, who had to move out of the house and make way for the Commandant. Although it would have been extremely difficult for them, they moved into the home of their housekeeper, Anezka, who was not Jewish and remained loyal to the family throughout the Holocaust and the Second World War. Anezka risked her own life to look after Peter’s grandparents, and later kept the family’s photographs and letters safe. Dorli died of natural causes in January, 1942. Because she was Jewish, Paula was deported to Theresienstadt in July of the same year and murdered. Peter has written a book, in which these photographs are featured, which describes Paula and Dorli, and the difficulties they faced under the Nazi regime. The book serves alongside the photographs to preserve the stories of Peter’s family, the challenges and fears that they faced, and their lives before the rise of Nazism.