Born: Hodonin, Czechoslovakia
July 20, 1908
Valtr was the fourth of six children born to Jewish parents in a small Moravian town, where his father ran a dry-goods and clothing store. The Krakauers spoke both Czech and German at home. Valtr attended German-language schools and also played soccer for the Maccabi Jewish team. After graduating from secondary school, Valtr enrolled in a fashion-design school in the city of Brno.
1933-39: In Brno, Valtr founded a factory that produced ready-made clothes. He closely followed the rise of Nazism in Germany and the March 1938 German annexation of Austria. Anticipating that Germany would invade Czechoslovakia, Valtr and his cousin Erwin emigrated to Palestine. Meanwhile, Germany annexed the Sudetenland in October 1938 and occupied Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939.
1940-45: After arriving in Haifa, Palestine, Valtr joined a settlement in the Beth-Shean Valley that later became Kibbutz Kefar Ruppin. Determined to fight Nazism, Valtr in 1943 joined the Jewish Brigade, a military unit that fought alongside the British forces in Italy from 1943 until the end of the war in May 1945.
After the war, Valtr learned that three of his brothers and sisters had died in Nazi camps. He returned to Brno, Czechoslovakia, to join his ailing mother.