Michael J. Kraus, of Needham, formerly of Brookline, passed away on Monday, December 17, at the age of 88 after suffering a stroke a week earlier. Michael (Misa) was born in Nachod, Czechoslovakia to Karel and Lotte (Goldschmidt) Kraus on June 28, 1930. Although he lost both parents in the Holocaust, he survived the concentration camps until being liberated in May 1945. After the war, while still a teenager, Michael recorded his World War II experiences. This illustrated “Diary” was translated into several languages for the benefit of future generations around the world; the English publication is titled “Drawing the Holocaust.” Despite these difficult experiences Michael created a life full of love, family, friendship, hard work, humor, adventure and travel.
In 1948 Michael made his way to Canada, finished his high-school education, and went on to study architecture at McGill University and later at Columbia University. While practicing architecture in Geneva, Switzerland he met his wife, Ilana, and they moved to the United States, where he enjoyed a long career at Stubbins and Associates (later Jacobs), working until he was 84.
Michael was known for his subtle, dry humor; mischievous smile; kindness; and love of travel. He was a perfectionist who took great pleasure in entertaining family and friends, and brought cheer and laughter to many family celebrations by demonstrating his ability to stand on his head.
Michael had many friends, family members, and professional colleagues who will miss him dearly. He leaves behind Ilana, his beloved wife of 55 years; daughter Dana Kraus and husband Tom Forster and children Ethan and Emma of Vermont; and daughter Tamara Kraus and husband Dan Ovadya and children Dahlia and Mira of California. He instilled in all of them a love of the outdoors, especially skiing and hiking.
A celebration of Michael’s life will take place at North Hill, 865 Central Avenue, Needham on Sunday, December 23 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations in Michael’s name may be made to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Facing History and Ourselves, National Public Radio, or a charity of your choice.