Vilém Beer

Date of birth: 12. 4. 1900 Plzeň

Death date: 1944 Osvětim

Biography

Vilém Beer was born on the 12th April 1900 into the family of Josef Beer, a Pilsen tailor of Jewish origin. Besides building realisations, another link with Pilsen is presented by the grave of his father Josef (1870–1932) and his younger sister Trude (1901–1933) located in the New Jewish Cemetery near Rokycanská Avenue in Pilsen.

After his studies, Vilém Beer moved to Prague permanently, where he firstly collaborated with the builder Jan Tatzl. In the year 1926, they adapted the attic of house no. 8 on Nekázanka Street to set up their studio there. In the following year, they also adapted the adjacent attic room at no. 10 Nekázanka Street into a photography studio. In the late 1920s, Vilém Beer moved to a better address, establishing his office at Palace Fénix in Wenceslas Square. In Prague, he designed two houses in the villa neighbourhood Ořechovka in the Střešovice district; a house at no. 6 Pod Vyhlídkou Street bears a striking resemblance to the villa of the Penížek family in Pilsen at no. 19 Zikmund Winter Street (C4–1835). Probably the last of Beer’s realisations are terraced family houses and semi-detached houses on Svátkova Street in Prague-Smíchov constructed in the years 1934–1935.

At the turn of the 1920s and 1930s, Beer designed six family and apartment houses for clients in Pilsen. Besides the above-mentioned villa of the Penížek family, there are another two nearly identical villas in the Bezovka neighbourhood of the Löbner and Kraus families at nos. 48 and 50 Schwarzova Street (C4–1846) from the years 1928–1929 and also the villa of the Brunner family at no. 13 U Svépomoci Street from the years 1929–1930. Similarly to Beer’s other houses in Bezovka, this villa also reflects the sentiment of Neo–Classicism. Another two buildings connected with his name are found in the historical centre of Pilsen. One of them, the apartment house at no. 5 Riegrova Street (C1–208), was built in 1930 for the Jewish cloth merchant Rudolf Kohn; the other one is the apartment building with shopfronts of Karel and Růžena Weiner at no. 22 Republic Square (C1–136) from the years 1928–1931. The builder of this house was a Jewish entrepreneur in leather goods. Beer is also the author of the granite tombstone of the banker Siegfried Glauber and his wife Hermine in Pilsen’s Jewish Cemetery.

Sadly, it was not only their Jewish origin that Beer and his clients shared, but also the same tragic fate. Most builders were hit by Nazi anti-Jewish laws; first they were deprived of their dignity and then also of their lives in concentration and extermination camps. Vilém Beer himself was transported to Terezín on the 9th of March 1943 and then to Auschwitz on the 28th of October, where he became one of more than a million holocaust victims there. 


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Selection of other works

1926
Attic adapted into Beer’s own studio on Nekázanka Street, Prague (together with Jan Tatzl)

1926–1927
Two family houses in Prague-Střešovice

1927
Attic adapted into a photography studio on Nekázanka Street, Prague (together with Jan Tatzl)
Additional storey for a house on Truhlářská Sreet, Prague

1930
Villa of Olga and Rudolf Brunner and Adolf Kohn on U Svépomoci Street, Pilsen

1934–1935
Terraced family houses and semi-detached houses on Svátkova Street, Prague-Smíchov

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