Otto Fabry Feilchenfeld
|Birthplace:||Teplice, Teplice District, Ústí nad Labem Region, Czech Republic|
|Death:||Died in Oswiecim, Oświęcim County, Malopolskie, Poland|
|Cause of death:||Auschwitz death camp|
Son of Max Mendel Feilchenfeld and Henrietta Maria Feilchenfeld
|Occupation:||director of the Boehmische Escompte Bank and Credit Anstalt in Prague|
|Managed by:||Paul Heinegg|
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About Otto Fabry Feilchenfeld
Otto Feilchenfeld was the chairman of the board of the Bohemian Escomptebank and Creditanstalt in Prague. In 1963 his brother Franz Fabry Felichenfeld recalled that he was with Otto in London for a family gathering in February 1939 when he and other family members tried to convince him not to return home to Prague. (Kristallnacht was 9-10 November 1938. And his mother Henriette had been ordered to transfer her St. Gilgen property into Aryan hands). But Otto insisted that he had nothing to fear from the Nazis, "I've done nothing wrong." His bank was taken over that same month by the Dresdner Bank, and it subsequently became the main instrument for the Aryanization of large Jewish capital holdings in Czechoslovakia [Rothkirchen, Livia, The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia: Facing the Holocaust, 106]. He was fired, made to divorce his Gentile wife of thirty-seven years, transported from Prague to Theresienstadt three years later on 24 April 1942, and then transported five years later on 28 October 1944 to Auschwitz where he was murdered. In 1987 his daughter Mutzi Rulf recalled that her father thought of himself as a Catholic, not a Jew. He was close friends with the bishop of Prague. Her family bribed one of the guards at Auschwitz to keep him alive, but the guard did not show up for work one day and Otto was sent to the gas chamber.
His brother Franz recalled in 1949 that Otto told him he had wasted 5 years studying law. He was excused from military duty during the First World War because he was considered indispensable as director of an important bank. He was treasurer of the Czech War Committee according to the 31 August 1914 issue of the newspaper Cech.
In December 1923 Otto, his wife Mitzi and their children spent the Christmas holidays skiing with his brother Franz, Franz's children, and Otto's friend Rademacher in Gastein. Around New Year's day they received a telegram that Otto's assistant, a man named Blum, had committed suicide.
Franz was staying with Otto while on a business trip to Prague in the Spring of 1924 when Otto took him to his favorite restaurant called Zavrel where they met an old school mate of Otto's named Karl Mascha.
Franz, who was very critical of himself and his family, described his brother Otto, "the most gifted of us, full of imagination and acumen, but as reckless as he was sharp. He was always getting swept up in love affairs, which he would recount to his friends out of a childish urge to boost his own self ego. He earned more than the rest of the family put together, but he consumed too much and got into unfortunate speculations.
Otto was mentioned a number of times in the memoirs of Von Anton Hoedl, the director general of the First Brno Engineering Company (one of the oldest machine tool factories in Europe--a major producer of capital goods in the Hapsburg Empire) from 1926 to 1945:
"In the spring of 1926, Engineer Polak, sole signatory of the House of Rothschild, called me ...in Graz and invited me to visit him in Vienna. He left me alone In his office with the Polak-down from Prague Dr. Otto Feilchenfeld (again, a Jew!), the Chairman of the Board of Bohemian Escomptebank and Creditanstalt in Prague. After extensive negotiations we agreed on very favorable conditions for me: annual salary 1 million KČ, subsequent increase depending on the profit, buying a family villa as a home for me, joining the Board of Directors of the company, once the success of the reorganization was complete, with written guarantee of Bebca [Bohemian Escomptebank and Creditanstalt]."
...The four million U.S. dollars registered land bond debt...My late friend, the bank director Otto Feilchenfeld, called these bills the "rainbow", because they would always shine only at an unreachable distance.
Dr. Charles Reissig and Dr. Otto Feilchenfeld
There are two men, whose memory truly deserves its own chapter in my memories...our outstanding lawyer Dr. Carl Reissig, at the request of Dr. Feilchenfeld, the representative of the bank consortium. Reissig later took over the presidency of our board and our president, remained until the assumption of power by the Nazis. He was then "unacceptable" because of his then already deceased half-Jewish wife and his quarter-Jewish children."
"The second man, with whom I had a lasting friendship, was Dr. Otto Feilchenfeld, the executive director of the Bebca. An intelligent mind, in some respects too vigorous and quick. As the son of the "Old Feilchenfeld", who had played a significant role in the banking life of the monarchy, he studied law in Austria, then Berlin, came as a "Corpsstudent with a dueling scar on the left cheek" and then quickly climbed the ladder in the banking system. Typical assimilation Jew, already in the study of the full adjustment; his wife a particularly popular, blond Aryan. In his flirtations, he should have demanded proof of Aryan ancestry. With extraordinary agility of mind, funny and full of ideas, he was my invaluable source of support for the often very difficult negotiations with the banking syndicate... When I requested massive funds for the renovation of the workshops shortly after the financial restructuring, he had to enforce my claims authorization at the banks. When everything was in order with the EB, he invited me to join the Board of Directors of his bank, my major shareholder. In the Nazi period Feilchenfeld was in Theresienstadt, the Jewish camp in northern Bohemia. He wrote from there humorous letters, on occasion of his appointment as head of the Jewish camp community and was then - the Berlin Corpsstudent, married to an Aryan! - To Auschwitz. Some of the humorous sayings Feilchenfelds I quote today with fondness. When both of us thought of the solution to a problem at the same time, he used to say, "All Jews have the same Sechel" (Sechel, Yiddish [folly, foolishness,] mind). He amicably threw Feilchenfeld and Hödl in the same Jewish pot!"
Hoedl was born in Innsbruck and grew up in Prague. In the chapter of his memoirs that he calls "National Consciousness and Belief," he writes, "I am not and never was a national chauvinist, but the Germans have a right to achieve their national coexistence...Hitler had this dream of German unity...He soiled this legitimate desire. I will not give up the ideals of my youth, even if Hitler has abused its purposes...As a German I have often looked with concern as the Czechs were sometimes superior to my comrades in daily life...I want to emphasize that my belief in the superiority of the Indo-European refers to the whole immense family of Germans, Romans and Slavs, now largely covered by the concept of the 'white man."'
And in the chapter on "The Jewish Question" he writes, "I was never an anti-Semite. Initially, Nazism was never blatantly anti-Semitic. It seemed to us outsiders as more a pushing back against overwhelming Jewish influence. Only after the political successes, the Anschluss of Austria and the Sudeten, did anti-Semitism become more radical. The Kristallnacht was the first event that frightened and shamed me...I felt disgusted."
Hoedl goes on to describe how he helped his two senior Jewish employees (his director and Dr. Kulka) to escape,
from website http://www.joern.de/hoedl.htm#Erinnerungen, translation by google.
Otto owned a villa on Brioni that was built by Karl Wittgenstein in 1901 and later demolished to buld a summer residence for Tito http://swirl.bloger.index.hr/default.aspx?tag=brijuni
Otto was a member of the board of Georg Scicht A.G., Aussig, Czechoslovakia. In 1949 the Scicht family was under investigation for being one of the main supporters of the Henlein Party which played a large part in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in collaboration with the Nazis [See "Sources" on this site].
Franz Feilchenfeld wrote that his brother Otto and his brother Fritz, unlike he and their father were always conservative and against the new social and national movements that had developed after the war. Although Austria immediately separated from Czechslovakia, Otto refused to learn Czech.
Otto Fabry Feilchenfeld's Timeline
April 11, 1879
Teplice, Teplice District, Ústí nad Labem Region, Czech Republic
December 29, 1906
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
Oswiecim, Oświęcim County, Malopolskie, Poland