Karl Stojka was born on 20 April 1931. He was the fourth of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsy parents in a small village in eastern Austria. The family lived in a horse-drawn caravan.
In March 1938, the Germans marched into Austria. The Stojka family and all of the other gypsies were ordered to remain where they were. Karl’s parents converted their caravan into a wooden house.
In 1943 Karl’s family were deported to the gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In August 1944, they were sent to Buchenwald. On arrival Karl was about to be sent back to Auschwitz-Birkenau. However, his brother and uncle insisted that he was 14, so he was allowed to stay.
After being deported to the Flossenburg, he was liberated by American troops on 24 April 1945.