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Traute Kleinova

1918 – 1975

by Jacov Sobovitz

Traute Kleinova was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on August 13, 1918. From early childhood she had to help her widowed mother make a living by delivering milk in her neighborhood. The boys of her class used to accompany her on her chores so that she could finish her rounds earlier in order to be able to participate in the activities of the local Jewish athletic club. She could outrun most of the boys and she beat all of them in table tennis.

One of the athletic coaches at the Jewish club advised Kleinova to visit the table tennis division of the local Maccabi club. Here she became an instant success, both her special talent and good looks being immediately noticed by the chairman of the division, Jacob Schalinger (whom she married in 1939) and by its coach, Eric T. Vogel.

At the national table tennis championships held at Olmutz in 1935 she defeated the reigning world champion, M. Ketnerova, and as result was selected for the national team that was sent to London to compete in the World Championships.

Klein was a member of the Czech team that won the Corbillon Cup (World Championship) in 1935, beating Hungary 3:1 in the final. She won again with the national team in 1936 and in the same year she also won the mixed doubles event at the 1936 World Championship in Prague with her partner Miloslav Hamer.

Together with most of the local Jews, including her coach Eric Vogel, Kleinova and Schalinger were deported to Theresienstadt in December 1941 and were eventually sent separately to Auschwitz. Her husband perished but Traute Kleinova survived, along with Eric Vogel, who later became her second husband.

In 1946 Kleinova and Vogel emigrated to the United States. She died of cancer in 1975 and Vogel died two years later. In 1994 Traute Kleinova was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.


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Eric T. Vogel died four years later -- on Oct. 19, 1980. (See FindaGrave.com .)

Although it's widely reported online that Traute Kleinova died in February 1975, that is not the case. A death notice published in the New York Times on April 13, 1976, reads:

"Trudy Vogel, nee Traute Klein, beloved wife of Eric, died Friday night April 9, after a long and painful illness. She was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and became a world champion in table tennis at the age of 18. iShe went through four years of concentration camps before coming to the United States in 1948...."

A Nov. 1948 U.S. arrival record on Ancestry.com lists Erich Vogel, 42, and Ermentrauta Vogel, 30, both born in Czechoslovakia -- possibly Eric and Trudy.

3.) Would be interested to know the transport number of Traute Klein to Auschwitz (public data bases do not provide any information about survivors) 4.) Would also be interested to know the transport number of Eric Vogel to Auschwitz This is to find out, who was in the same transport (and may have met etc.), possible relatives or other relations to other persons etc.

Note: The record of Jakub Schallinger at the Yadvashem data base is quite incomplete: http://db.yadvashem.org/names/... Any further details known?

See also: http://www.holocaust.cz/de/vic...

1.) I would be interested to know whether the spouse of Traute Kleinova was Jakub Schallinger (with double L), born 13.02.1905, Transport G from Brno to Terezin on 02.12.1941, Transport Em on 01.10.1944. 2.) Kleinova and Vogel transported with Transport G from Brno to Theresienstadt?

How to cite this page

Sobovitz, Jacov. "Traute Kleinova." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 29, 2020) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/kleinova-traute>.


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