Česká centra, Czech Centres

Česká centra / Czech centres - logo


All news

Premysl Pitter: Righteous Among the Nations

22-06 - 31-08 I On the occasion of 120th anniversary of birth of Czech educator and humanist Premysl Pitter you can see an exhibition in the Gallery On the Fence. The exhibition will show photographs documenting Pitter´s life, work and stories of Jewish children whom he saved during and after WWII. 1.6.-31.8.2015.

From 1.6. - 31.8.2015 you can see the exhibition documenting Pitter´s life, work and stories of Jewish children whom he saved during and after WWII. Premysl Pitter and his colleague Olga Fierz received titles of Righteous Among the Nations and trees with their names were plated in the Avenue of the Righteous in the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem. The exhibition is organized in cooperation with National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius.

Přemysl Pitter (21. 6. 1895 – 15. 2. 1976) 

Přemysl Pitter was born in Prague in a Christian family. He fought as a volunteer in the First World War, during which he became a deeply religious Christian and pacifist.

In 1924, he founded the Milíč House Association, which was devoted to the upbringing of the poorest children from the neighborhood, who would go to it each day after school. After 1937 it accommodated over 150 children, including the children of German parents who had been forced to emigrate from Nazi Germany. From the start of the Nazis' persecution of Jews, the house also held Jewish children. The latter were also hidden in Mýto near Rokycany, where a recuperation centre and campsite were opened in 1938. From September 1941, Přemysl Pitter visited Jewish families, and sent parcels to the concentration camps for many people who had been deported there.

In autumn 1944, a Committee for Christian Aid to Jewish Children was created, with the aim of looking after children who returned from concentration camps after the war. The idea came to fruition in May 1945, when Přemysl Pitter became a member of the social committee of the Czech National Council. A typhus epidemic had broken out in the Terezín ghetto, and Pitter organised the removal of all children capable of travel to four confiscated chateaux – Štiřín, Olešovice, Kamenice and Lojovice, which he had received permission to operate. He both cared for and educated the Jewish children who were recovering there from the ravages of the concentration camps, and later German children of families who were expelled after the war. Between May 1945 and May 1947, 810 children were cared for at the chateaux.

In 1951, he emigrated to German. He was appointed by the World Council of Churches in Geneva to provide pastoral and social care in the Valka refugee camp near Nuremberg. He later settled in Switzerland, and together with Olga Fierz, continued to dedicate himself to social activities. They founded the Czechoslovak Society for Science and Art, and worked in Radio Free Europe.

Pitter received several honours, including the highest decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany for saving German children (1973). In 1995, the 100th anniversary of his birth was declared a world cultural anniversary by UNESCO's general conference. In 1964, he was awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations.


Partners: Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tel Aviv, National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius