S2, Ep 14 When Time Stopped: Ariana Neumann (1944)

This deeply moving episode of Travels Through Time tells for the very first time the absolutely extraordinary story of Hans Neumann, a young Jewish man from Prague, who managed to outwit the Nazis and survive the Holocaust.


Ariana Neumann grew up in the Venezuela of the 1970s and 1980s. It was a land of possibility and progress. Her father Hans Neumann - a hugely successful industrialist and patron of the arts – epitomised both these characteristics.


But while Hans was outwardly the epitome of success and strength, there were parts of his private self that were unsettling to his close family. He would wake at night screaming in a language his daughter did not understand. He hardly ever mentioned his childhood in central Europe. He never said that he was Jewish. ‘Life,’ he would tell his daughter, ‘was to be lived in the present.’


On his death in September 2001, Ariana discovered a box of papers and photographs that her father had left her. They became the starting point for a personal investigation into her father’s European family and an unspoken history of horrific persecution and enthralling survival during the Holocaust.


This episode of Travels Through Time was recorded on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. During the course of this conversation Ariana guides us back to the drama and tragedy of the year 1944: a defining year for the Neumann family of Prague.


To see Hans’s doll, Zdenka ring and the Jan’s identity card – some of the objects discussed during the course of this conversation – please visit our website at tttpodcast.com


When Time Stopped will be published in the UK and internationally in February 2020.


Show notes:


Scene One: June 23 1944, Red Cross Visit to the Camp of Terezín, CZ. The place is beautified. Thousands are sent to Auschwitz to ease overcrowding and a charade is enacted to fool the International Red Cross inspectors.


Scene Two: September 29/30 1944, The arrival of transport EI in Auschwitz, Poland.


Scene Three: October 9 1944, Berlin Germany. Hans Neumann has been hiding in plain sight and using a fictitious identity. He receives a summons (issued October 5th) to appear in the Nazi District Court in Prague. Going back to Prague and appearing in court would, almost certainly, mean death.


Memento: The sound of Otto Neumann humming the folk song Golem.


People/Social


Presenter: Peter Moore


Guest: Ariana Neumann


Producers: Maria Nolan/John Hillman


Titles: Jon O.