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Carl Heumann

Hellenthal, Germany

Carl was one of nine children born to Jewish parents living in a village near the Belgian border. When Carl was 26, he married Joanna Falkenstein and they settled down in a house across the street from his father's cattle farm. Carl ran a small general store on the first floor of their home. The couple had two daughters, Margot and Lore.

1933-39: I've moved my family to the city of Bielefeld, where I'm working for a Jewish relief organization. Requests from this area's Jews to leave Germany have multiplied since a night last November [Kristallnacht] when the Nazis smashed windows of Jewish stores and burned synagogues all over Germany. Unfortunately, the United States and other countries have immigration quotas so that only a fraction of the Jewish refugees can get visas.

1940-44: We've been deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. As a special privilege, we've been sent here rather than to a concentration camp further to the east because I earned the German Iron Cross in World War I. Still, the threat of deportation to a camp hangs over us daily, and we're always hungry. Our 15-year-old, Margot, has been assigned to a detail that leaves the ghetto each day to work on a farm: Sometimes she smuggles back vegetables to us by hiding them under her blouse.

In May 1944 Carl was caught stealing food, and he and his family were deported to Auschwitz. Everyone is believed to have perished there except Margot, who survived the war.

 

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