Born Goettingen, Germany
September 15, 1921
Heinz was the youngest of three children born to a Jewish family in
the German university city of Goettingen. His father owned a linen
factory that had been in the family since it was founded by Heinz's
grandfather. Goettingen had a small Jewish population, and only one
synagogue. Heinz went to public school in the city.
1933-39: In 1933 the Nazis took power in Germany. A year later our
factory was seized. Three SA men came to our house. An officer set a
gun on the table and calmly informed my father that if we did not
leave in a week, "You and your furniture will be thrown out the
window." Within a month we moved to Hamburg. Nazi edicts prohibited me
from going to school, so I worked several jobs. I was also recruited
by the Nazis as a forced laborer.
1940-44: In 1941 I was forced with my family to sign a paper stating
that, as a Jew, I was being deported as an enemy of the state. We were
told we'd be going to work in the east. Many felt that it wouldn't be
so bad, and we'd return home soon. We boarded a train and after four
days arrived in Minsk, Soviet Union. Leaving the train, I saw guards
throwing loaves of bread into open cattle cars full of Soviet POWs. As
the starving men fought over the food, German guards shot at them. I
then realized we were never going to return.
Heinz was in the Minsk ghetto until 1943. Over the next two years he
was sent to 11 Nazi camps. He was one of the few survivors of the tens
of thousands in the Minsk ghetto.
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