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Wolfgang Munzer

Berlin, Germany

An only child, Wolfgang was born in Berlin to Jewish parents. Hisfather 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, my father fled Germany because he was a socialist and was afraid he'd be arrested. Mother was very ill, so my grandmother took care of me until it became too difficult for her, and then she placed me in a Jewish orphanage. By then, Jews weren't allowed in public schools, so I switched to a Jewish middle school. In l937 I joined my father in Paris and entered a training institute to learn to be a mechanic.

1940-44: By 1943 I was living in Nice with my father and my stepmother, who owned a lending library. Many Jews had sought haven in Nice because under the Italian occupation there, Jews were not persecuted. But when Italy surrendered to the Allies in September, the Germans occupied the area. In March 1944 the Nazis deported me, my parents, and 1,500 other Jews in sealed box cars from a transit camp near Paris to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, I was separated from my parents and herded into a room where my head was shaved.

Wolfgang's parents were gassed upon arrival at Auschwitz. Wolfgang was put to work in an electrical components factory and survived the war. He emigrated to America in 1947.

 

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