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Episode from the podcastLead. Learn. Change.

Vladimir Munk - Life Before, During, and After the Holocaust

Released Saturday, 27th February 2021
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Vladimir’s audio clips (0:55)

Julie and Vladimir – opening banter, welcome (5:10)

Vladimir’s background/intro (8:30)

24 months in concentration camps, 1300 months of life (10:40)

Childhood memories – an only child, sports, scouts, a good life (11:30)

The Nazis occupy Czechoslovakia when Vladimir was fourteen years old (11:50)

Jewish children no longer allowed to attend public school (12:00)

Taking the train 300 miles to take exams (12:20)

Vladimir and his friend receive their test results (13:45)

Remembering his first, third, and fifth grade teachers (14:30)

Seventh grade chemistry teacher and the academic “contest” with Vladimir’s father (15:00)

March 15, 1939 – the Nazis came to Pardubice (16:00)

Instant implementation of anti-Jewish laws (16:30)

Czechoslovakia split and Bohemia became part of Germany (16:50)

Banishment from theaters, organizations, scouts, and forced to work at age sixteen (17:10)

Jews and non-Jews separated at work – building radios, and a chance to hear the news (18:00)

Called to be transported to Terezín, the ghetto concentration camp (19:25)

Conflicting interests in the war as the Germans were winning against fascism (20:00)

Disappointment with France and Great Britain, and a lack of belief in other countries’ promises, fed into a type of [initial] support for Germany's war efforts (20:45)

The difficulty of maintaining public friendships after the occupation (21:45)

Vladimir’s dad turns down help with luggage to keep friends from getting into trouble for assisting Jews (23:10)

Difficult to talk about family, parents (23:45)

Swimming and skating with his mother, and skiing on vacation, and playing on the mounds of coal at the factory at home (24:00)

Spending time with his dad in the laboratory at work, learning about analytical balances (24:30)

A valuable lesson from his dad about hypotheses and data (25:30)

Stolpersteine commemoration of Vladimir’s parents (27:30)

Life at Terezín (29:30)

From Terezín to Auschwitz, October 1944 (30:45)

“Selection” at Auschwitz and separation from his father (31:00)

Face to face with Josef Mengele (32:15)

Learning about the reality of Auschwitz (-Birkenau) (33:30)

Waiting for his mother (34:30)

Vladimir’s future wife Kitty (35:00)

How does someone survive such an experience? (36:00)

The death march to Blechhammer (39:00)

Waking up to a virtually empty camp, and the ensuing barrage from tanks (40:00)

Bread (42:00)

Momentary fast-forward to bread baking after retirement (43:45)

January 26, 1945 – taking a chance with some guards (44:30)

True liberation at last, bumazhka, and cooking without water (46:20)

A hospital stay, then back home to Pardubice (48:55)

More audio clips to introduce the closing segment of the conversation (49:30)

The beginning of a professorship in the United States (52:00)

Soviet occupation in 1968 leads to Plattsburgh, New York (53:00)

Teaching keeps you young – Forty-four years old for fifteen years (54:45)

A decision to retire (56:00)

“Every chemist is a good cook” (56:40)

Vacations and travel with Kitty (57:30)

Tragedies may not always and forever be in a foreign country (58:30)

Live a normal life, not the life of a Holocaust survivor (59:20)

The shared ordeal at Terezín created a special bond with Kitty (1:00:00)

Students’ stories, students’ interest in his story, student letters (1:01:00)


Film documentary 


Return to Auschwitz | Home

and, Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk


and,  the GoFundMe site for the documentary:


The working title for Julie Canepa’s book is Vlada and Kitty: A Holocaust Love Story.  Slated for completion and publication in 2021. You can visit Julie's website to read excerpts of the book.


General information about the Stolperstine project can be found online. Here are a few starter links:



Music for Lead. Learn. Change. is Sweet Adrenaline by Delicate Beats

Podcast cover art for Lead. Learn. Change. is a view from Brunnkogel (mountaintop) over the mountains of the Salzkammergut in Austria, courtesy of photographer Simon Berger, published on www.unsplash.com.

Professional Association of Georgia Educators:  www.pageinc.org

David's LinkedIn page