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Walter Oliver Cernohorsky F.L.S. Surveyor, malacologist – 1927–2014

I.G. Thwaites
B.J. Gill
Auckland War Memorial Museum
W. Blom
Auckland War Memorial Museum
5 February 2016


Walter Cernohorsky was born in Brno, in what is currently the Czech Republic, on 30 June 1927 (Macaulay 2015). He lost both parents when he was seven years old and was looked after by his brother (who was 16 years older) and sister-in-law. During the Second World War he had to endure the horrors of the German occupation which included the murder of an uncle, who was an officer in the Czech Army, the requisitioning of the family's hotel and the need to hide female cousins from marauding soldiers. He studied architecture at university, though he would have preferred to run the family's business. As a university student Walter agitated against the Russian-imposed post-war communist regime and this eventually made it unsafe for him to remain in the country. In 1948 he hid on a train and escaped to the West without having time to collect belongings or farewell relatives and friends. He never returned or saw his brother again. Walter spoke Czech, German and English, with an understanding of Russian, and he was employed for a time by the U.S. Army as a translator.

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