Lutz Haase

Lutz Haase

Born: February 21, 1914

Wrzenia, Poland

Lutz was one of two children born to religious Jewish parents living in Wrzesnia when it was still part of Germany. After World War I, Wrzesnia became part of Polish territory. Preferring to remain as German citizens, Lutz's family moved to Nuremberg. There, his father opened a kosher butcher shop. In 1926 the Haases relocated to Berlin and reestablished their butcher shop there.

1933-39: Like many of Berlin's Jews, I was assigned by the Gestapo to a work detail in 1937. I laid electrical cable for which I received a pittance--only 37 cents a day. After the Nazis rampaged on November 10, 1938, destroying synagogues and holy books and smashing Jewish store windows during Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"), I was deported with many other Jews to a forced-labor camp outside Berlin. There, we were kept in leg irons and put to work repairing train tracks.

1940-44: After two years of forced labor, I became too weak to work. The commandant condemned me to an underground bunker where few survived more than a day. An SS general who was present when I was condemned had been a classmate of mine before the war. Privately he told me, "I remember you. You helped me start my stamp collection. Now I'd like to help you." "General," I said, "Do what you have to." He replied, "If I do that, you'll never see daylight again." Through his connections, he arranged my way to Shanghai.

Lutz arrived in Shanghai in late 1940. There, he published a newspaper with war information obtained from the Soviet news agency and radio reports. He immigrated to Canada in 1949.