Ashkelon, November 18,2013
My last friend from among the soccer players of the Theresienstadt League has left us
Franta (Francis) Maier 1922 - 2013
I do not know how to express my sorrow – Franta, too, has left me. We met in Brno, already there we played soccer, in the youth team of the Czech league, for “Maccabi Brno”, at the beautiful soccer field the “Maketz” in Brno-Pisarky. We did not dream then that we would meet in ghetto Theresienstadt and that we would belong to the founders of a club – in the most successful league there, the “Jugendfürsorge” (Youth Care Department). Coincidentally we, hailing from Brno, were defenders: Franta as goalie, Peter Eisenberg and Pavel Breda defenders and Shmudla Klauber, center-half. We found ourselves in addition to the three forwards from Prague, striving to achieve an honorable spot on the league table and in the games for the cup.
Franta was a highly appreciated teacher and educator at the school building L-417 in the ghetto, he was one of the few who returned after liberation and was honored throughout his life! From Theresienstadt he had been deported (together with me) at the end of September 1944 and survived Auschwitz and Gleiwitz, where he was liberated in January 1945.
After the war, in Brno, he married Ilse Drechsler and emigrated to the USA; there he founded a successful business (paper wholesale) in Encino, California. For years he was a member of our association, he visited Israel in 1976.
When I traveled with my family for the first time to New York I did not tell anybody about our plans. Until today I do not know how he found out that we were there – immediately, on the first evening he phoned us to the hotel, a total surprise. We agreed to meet next morning – and so it was he who showed us New York. For many years we exchanged New Year greetings, but never met again.
After his death Ilse phoned me and here I want to convey – in my name and in the name of all friends – our sincere condolences; one of the last youth councilors and soccer players from ghetto Theresienstadt is no more.
Francis (Franta) Maier (right) - Sep 1st, 1944 , from the Nazi propaganda film