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For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Buchenwald Inmate. Alfred Dube 1923-2008. A Survivor. Ceramics and Design..

Alfred Dube: An Outsider's Tribute to a Survivor.

Alfred Dube; American citizen. Immigrant. WWII.
A Czech, from Pilsen and Prague.
His extended family members then in Europe died in the Holocaust.
Buchenwald held him as Inmate, briefly; in transit.
He passed from one labor-concentration camp to another.
He was held in 4-5 of them,
Including: Dora, Czestochova, and Bergen Belsen, see chronology. 
He then was involved in liberation, resistance work, and finally arrived in America where he continued to contribute.
Not an easy path, for self, family, skills. But he Did It.
Internet sources here.  Family may have revisions, of course. But this is a well-intentioned gist.*

* Update November 2013:  Mr. Dube's grandson, lawyer and master brewer Paul Hletko, Evanston IL, has opened a craft distillery (FEW Spirits) in memory of Alfred Dube, see  That article, however, does not identify Mr. Dube.  As to this research about Mr. Dube, revisions or corrections requests from Mr. Hletko for this tribute are welcome here. 

I. Alfred Dube, Survivor.


Family ties to confiscated property, perhaps.
Our interest is in his Life.

This is a small tribute by a stranger to one Alfred Dube, who was in successive concentration and labor camps in the Czech Republic, and Germany; survived, and later excelled in his work and community work in America, see tributes.  He died in 2008. Our interest stems from our visits to several concentration or labor camps:  Buchenwald, here in Germany; Jasenovac, in Croatia; Mauthausen, in Austria; and Auschwitz PL. We later visited Bergen-Belsen in Germany, that posting in process.

And our interest stems from a chance hearing of a story:  That this family line in Europe, 37-40 members, died in the Holocaust and may have been part owners before 1900, or otherwise involved in the Pilsen Urquell Brewery interest, or it could be Budweiser, and/or as in Cesky Budojovice, CZ - home of the true Budweis Beer. FN 1  Whatever that issue, we salute Alfred Dube on his own: welcome immigrants. We need the mix here, the talent. Who can prejudge.
  • Here, find a specific skill, a talent, beyond mere perseverance: Brilliance in ceramics design.  The Number 504? That was his place on the emigration list of those who would be allowed out after the War. Maybe the first 100 could get on board.  He made it. The long shot.
  • And Post Traumatic Stress - Anyone would ask now, but no-one paid much attention to it then. Under the rug. Did Alfred escape it. Look at what he lived through.  See this overview of the condition, at ://  
We find his life story from a number of internet and public sources, because that is our inspiration here.

Family would have many corrections.

Still, the tributes online seem to share similar information. We note where there are missteps we find, but basics come from the funeral home narrative, at ://; and at Journal: The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, at ://

There is/may be a difference totally between the Pilsner-Urquell brewery interests, and the Budweis-Interests of Cesky Budovojice,  see Pilsen, Pilsner Urquell Brewery Interests, and Hamburg Connections; that is beyond our deciphering. But the principles remain:  economic interests unjustly confiscated, what next.

  • We were in Pilzen, Pilsen Plzn -- how to spell between linguistic sources.  Alfred Dube would have known it well.
The synagogue, Pilsen, Plzn, Pilzen, CZ. The Synagogue, had been among the largest and most prosperous in Europe, is a museum, asking for contributions. Get a paper yarmulke as you enter, pay a small price,  add more, please.

  • Alfred Dube:  Born in Pilzen CZ
  • Eagle Scout
  • Engineer, Czechoslovakian Institute of Ceramics
  • Then comes the Reich. Meet hell. There were 37-40 members of Alfred Dube's family alone, killed; or as Yas Vashem says, perished.
  • Lodz Ghetto, in Poland, see ://; and :// we think also known as--
  • Litzmanstadt Ghetto -- (also spelled Litzmannstadt as on the cityoflodz site here) This is apparentlly another name for the Lodz Ghetto, same place, see ://; as a special section of Lodz, set off to be the ghetto, see map and other pages at ://  You can follow the memorial walking trail, read what happened at the various locations, at ://
  • Munitions Factory Hasag #2, we think that is in what is now known as Czestochowa P? Hasag was a privately owned company that used concentration camp prisoners as workers, see :// We don't see #2 there, but understand there were 8 in German, see :// For Czestochowa, see :// 
  • Buchenwald , Germany. See reference to book by Fred Wander, The Seventh Well, there.
  • SA Dora-Mittelbau, see ://  Underground munitions facilities. Quarries. We see reference to assembly plants V/1 and 2
  • Bergen-Belsen, see ://
  • Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, see ://
  • Post-war: Underground to get passports to Jews who wanted to escape occupied territories and emigrate to Palestine, the Joint Distribution Committee, we believe (if so, see it now at  ://, and that involved working against blockades at the time. This work may have cause authorities to delay his emigration.
  • Model for sculpture-skeleton series, Muselman, meaning, we think, the concentration camp word for "last stage before death", see://, by friend artist David Friedman, who also was a Holocaust survivor, and at some of the same locations although perhaps not simultaneously.  Site for David Friedman: ://  Find art at ://  We have not yet found the series.
  • Was married, 2 year old daughter, emigrated to US; this info is scanty.
  • Had $.60 - yes, sixty cents - to start over when he arrived.
  • Spoke five languages
  • Learned English while working as a bowling alley pin setter
  • Professional accomplishments:  Ultimately became director of design research and general manager, president, national sales manager and technical director of a variety of ceramics, brick, tile, china companies, see either site above.
  • Peace and development. The tributes list achievements in these areas. Here we are not sure if this is the same Alfred Dube.  There is one whose last name is pronounced "Dube-uh" but he is a black individual who is on this panel for the Brookings Institution, see ://  Slide the time marker to 35.45 to see him introduced and hear him.  Need info re the listing on the bio sites as consultant to Jamaican Government. We found this same name at this UN site, described as a permanent representative and ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations, but can't get at the rest, think this is accurate description but may not be the same person, see :// but the download is too big to wait for. See also :// (cited in the search, but too big to find exactly where)
  • Presidential commendations.  Tributes also add these, by "every president since 1949". We have not found them yet. Is that the other Alfred Dube?
  • Design.  Called "Father of Modern Dinnerware Design" - book by Michael Pratt, Mid-Century Modern Dinnerware, see :// See full size nesting place setting at Stetson ://; and another at Stetson, ://

    Stetson Hiawatha Or Prim Rose Creamer Mid-century
    This is identified as the Hiawatha pattern or Prim Rose. Fair use thumbnail from ebay qcyjohn. If this next one is the Hiawatha, then the top one has thicker, stubbier lines. Would it be Prim Rose? Is Prim Rose by Alfred Dube? Hiawatha is. Have to get into this. This second one is from ebay labbags. Bid fast.

  • Stetson China 3 Salad Plates Pattern Hiawatha
    We bet the second one.

See this other fair use thumbnail, from :// Alfred Dube. We remember. Stetson China Co. - 4 Nest Plates
  • Author of manuscript, in hands (unpublished, but we have read it) of American family members and the Washington Holocaust Museum: And Where Was God.  Do visit the Holocaust Museum, in Washington, reference RG-02.127, and works from those who had been in Mittelbau-Dora ("Prodkiton des Todes: das KZ Mittlebau-Dora" by Jens-Christian Wagner, Stiftung Gedenkstatten Buchenwald und Mittelbau-Dora)
    See  For all the Holocaust Museum's flaws in whitewashing, say some, the knowledge that our officials had of events as they were occurring and taking no steps to prevent the use of American corporation's materials in facilitating such in transport and record keeping, it is worth your time.
  • Shoah. Interviewed by Shoah Foundation (Shoah - Holocaust - see ://, and visited by Stephen Spielberg in part of that 4-hour interview, Spielberg funded Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, see://
  • Patents - include a ceramics time analyzer (?)
  • Outreach. Supported and held positions in many charitable-educational-community organizations: Boys Town, Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Huronia Tourist Association, Canadian and American Ceramic Societies, Rotary
 A peaceful, reconciled end. We hope that was true for Alfred Dube. 

FN 1  Earlier research, that led us to this individual.  We ask:

1.  Did he meet the family of the Prague boy, Petr Ginz, who wrote the matter-of-fact WWII diary of his life with his family there, see Places of Petr Ginz, Lens and Legacy.  Petr writes of individual friends and families, the Nazis, transports of friends and relatives to Theresienstadt or Terezin Ghetto, where Petr also was sent - then to Auschitz Birkenau where he was killed.

2.  Did family members have a historical family interest in Pilsner Urquell, the Brewery. That involvement might be before 1900, and the family story is probably unverifiable, as those who knew, are gone. Pilsner Urquell: History of the Brewery.

  • This topic is beyond our research. 

Any ownership interest must predate 1900, we think, as to the Hamburg brewery interests of the Guggenheims.

As to Pilsner Urquell, in Pilsen,  the connections may not pan out. Of course. What matters is objective, factual information.  Who has it? Who can, wants to, should pursue it. Our interest:  stop confiscations from happening again, without recourse. Recourse deters. Is that so.  Is that possible.

  • Pilsen. And Guggenheims. Two separate brewery interests, or overlap. Pilzen, Cesky Budejovice.
Guggenheim:  One brewery was bought by two German Jewish businessmen in 1900. Is that connected to the Plzen.

Is there clear title now, in the present owners, although it is "stolen property."

There was a Dub Zivkovic, who made a clone in 2004, but it was a little thin then, see ://  See Czech Republic Road Ways, Pilsner Urquell. That site tracks the ownership of Pilsner Urquell from 1900, owned by the Jewish Wilhelm Guggenheim The story of it is a microcosm of the upheavals of WWII, families, businesses, decimations. So, a brief look at the Strelows, who got the Brewery in 1938 -- and who we had thought might have something in common with Alfred Dube's family.

In researching Pilsner Urquell, however, we came to issues of confiscation of Jewish property interests that would apply to many situations.  We are not in a position to research a connection to Budweis, however. 

Who benefited from confiscations of Jewish* property?

II.  The Strelow Family

We had thought the Dube interest was also involved here. 
Annexed the Confiscated Guggenheim Brewery Interest 
Ongoing curiosity.

No Dubes involved, in the Hamburg brewery confiscation, we now believe. Were their interests limited to Plzen, Cesky Budojovie.

As a matter of general principal, however, , how did the Strelows who received confiscated property fare in and after WWII.

  • Confiscation.  What does it do to clear or fog title.  Take the issue far enough, and is any forced taking legal. Native Americans want to know.

  • Pilsner Urquell, possibly:

We found a Hans Strelow a pilot; and Siegfried Strelow, a U-Boat captain respectively. Both "elites of the Reich," both killed. Are they of the same Strelow family-company annexed the Brewery after confiscation from Mr. Guggenheim. Strelow: Here is a wartime Hans Strelow who was a hero-pilot for the Reich:  Hans, fair use quote from Related to the beer-getting Strelows?
"Particularly successful was the duo of Lt. Hans Strelow and Ofw. Wilhelm Mink, both of 5. JG 51. They claimed five MiG-3s of 16 IAP on 4 January (Mink claimed three) and 9 days later Mink claimed a Pe-2 and Strelow destroyed two R-Z biplanes for his 30th and 31st victories. On 4 February, Strelow increased his victories to 36 by shooting down four Russian aircraft. The 19 year-old Strelow claimed his 40th victory on 28 February and claimed 4 victories on both 6 March and 17 March. The next day he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes and also shot down seven Soviet aircraft. He was awarded the Eichenlaub on 24 March, his claims total at 66."
  • Siegfried Strelow.

Siegfried Srelow was a U-Boat commander - Korvettenkapitan - who died in 1943.He had been a torpedo officer on the Graf Spee, and the Schleswig Holstein, see details at ://  Same family as the beer? There is also a town Strelow, near Rostock, toward Sweden.  Here is a Strelow Company (GMBH & Co. but that is a transportation - machine thing perhaps that bought Strelow? No idea.), but maybe we are mistaken.

This Strelow in Hamburg deals wine, liquor, spirits, even soft drinks, see  Then again, SAB (South African Breweries), bought out Pilsner Urquell, that would have taken care of the beer side. Strelow is a common name, and the name of a town in Germany.

It is beyond us as a family to go see Strelows and poke about, but we remain interested in the issue. How long do wrongful acquisitions benefit the usurpers, or does passage of time just lead to another conclusion.  Too late. Current owners had nothing to do with their forbears. Or did they?