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world war I

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  • Magdalena Kusserow

    ID Card

    One of 11 children, Magdalena was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. When she was 7, her family moved to the small town of Bad Lippspringe. Her father was a retired postal official and her mother was a teacher. Their home was known as "The Golden Age" because it was the headquarters of the local Jehovah's Witness congregation. By age 8 Magdalena could recite many Bible verses by heart. 1933-39: The Kusserow's loyalty was to Jehovah, so the Nazis marked them as enemies. At 12 Magdalena joined her parents and…

    Magdalena Kusserow
  • Hans Heimann

    ID Card

    Hans was born to a Jewish family in the Austrian capital of Vienna. His parents ran a successful export shop for ladies' hats and sold their wares to many different countries. As a boy, Hans attended a private, preparatory school in which courses were taught in both English and German. 1933-39: Hans was attending business school when the Germans annexed Austria in 1938. Hans and his family watched from their window as German troops, led by Hitler, goose-stepped into Vienna. Hans was immediately forced out…

    Tags: Italy Austria
    Hans Heimann
  • Wolfgang Munzer

    ID Card

    An only child, Wolfgang was born in Berlin to Jewish parents. His father was the foreign representative for a sewing notions company. The family lived in a comfortable apartment in the southwestern district of the city. Wolfgang attended secondary school there and hoped to become an electrical engineer. 1933-39: When the Nazis came to power, Wolfgang's father fled Germany because he was a socialist and was afraid he'd be arrested. Wolfgang's mother was very ill, so his grandmother took care of him until…

    Wolfgang Munzer
  • Arthur Karl Heinz Oertelt

    ID Card

    Heinz, as he was usually called, was born in the German capital to religious Jewish parents. He and his older brother, Kurt, attended both religious and public schools. His father had died when he was very young. His mother, a seamstress, struggled to make ends meet. She and the boys lived in a predominantly Christian neighborhood. 1933-39: It frightened Heinz when Nazi storm troopers sang about Jewish blood dripping from their knives. But his family didn't have money to leave Berlin. In late 1939 Heinz…

    Tags: Berlin
    Arthur Karl Heinz Oertelt
  • Michel Margosis

    ID Card

    Michel's parents were Russian-born Jews. His father had been a police official in Russia who had been deported to Siberia for being an outspoken Zionist. After escaping, he and his wife had made their way to Belgium, and two of their four children, including Michel, were born in Brussels. 1933-39: In Brussels Michel's father owned and edited two newspapers, one French and one Yiddish. As a kid, Michel enjoyed reading comics like "Yordi," who in the United States is known as Superman. A day after his…

    Michel Margosis
  • Josephine Kohn Dermer

    ID Card

    Josephine, known affectionately as Pepi, and her brother and three sisters were raised in Vienna. Her father traded in furs and her mother was a homemaker. Only a few years after Pepi married, her husband died unexpectedly and she was left to care for their young son, Fred. She and her son moved in with her widowed father. 1933-39: Pepi spent much of her time with her sister Helene. Helene's husband was a Singer sewing machine representative, and in the summer of 1937 Pepi and Fred joined him and Helene…

    Tags: Vienna Belgium
    Josephine Kohn Dermer
  • Dora Unger

    ID Card

    Dora, her parents, brother, aunt, uncle, and two cousins lived together in her grandfather's home in Essen, Germany. The Ungers were an observant Jewish family, and when Dora was 8, she began to regularly attend meetings of Brit HaNoar, a religious youth organization. 1933-39: In October 1938 a teacher, with tears in her eyes, came to Dora at the municipal pool, saying "Jews cannot swim here anymore." Just weeks later, on November 9, Jews were arrested and their property destroyed. A neighbor tried to…

    Dora Unger
  • Coenraad Rood

    ID Card

    Coenraad was born to a Jewish family in Amsterdam that traced its roots in the Netherlands back to the 17th century. After graduating from public school, Coenraad went on to train as a pastry maker at a trade school. But after completing his training at the age of 13, he decided for health reasons to change professions, and he began to study tailoring. 1933-39: Coenraad finished apprenticing as a tailor in 1937 when he was 20. Then he spent a year working as a nurse in a Jewish home for the permanently…

    Coenraad Rood
  • Rubin Segalowicz

    ID Card

    Rubin was the second of four children born to a Jewish family in the northeastern Polish town of Ivenets, approximately 60 miles west of Minsk. His father was a butcher. Rubin attended Ivenets' public elementary school until the age of 10, when he transferred to the Mirar Yeshiva to study Jewish law. 1933-39: In 1936, after completing yeshiva, Rubin made his living as a house painter. In Ivenets people would stand in front of Jewish stores and drive customers away, telling them not to buy from Jews. In…

    Rubin Segalowicz
  • Tomasz (Toivi) Blatt

    ID Card

    Tomasz was born to a Jewish family in Izbica, a Polish town whose largely religious Jewish community comprised more than 90 percent of the population. Tomasz's father owned a liquor store. 1933-39: In September 1939, a drum sounded in the marketplace, calling the town to assemble for a news report. Germany had invaded Poland. More news arrived shortly; the Soviet Union was invading from the east. Tomasz and his family didn't know what to do. Some people said to run to the Soviet side; many, including his…

    Tomasz (Toivi) Blatt

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