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Robert Freund

Feudenheim, Germany

The second oldest of five children, Robert was raised by Jewish parents in a suburb of Mannheim. He was wounded while serving in the German army during World War I. Married after the war and making his home in the industrial city of Mannheim, Robert and his wife Emma raised two children, while he made a living as an interior decorator.

1933-39: The Nazis came to power in 1933; Robert's children were forced out of public school and he lost his business. When the Nazis burned down the local synagogue and Jewish school in 1938, he and his wife decided to send their 14-year-old son to Britain. They thought their daughter was too young to be sent abroad. Robert believed the Nazis' persecution would not get worse, and decided to remain in Mannheim. War began in 1939.

1940-42: On October 22, 1940, the Freunds were ordered to prepare to leave Mannheim and to assemble near the train station. Robert disobeyed and tried to hide his wife and daughter with a Jewish family living outside of Mannheim, but they were discovered. In front of his family, Robert was beaten. When he asked them to get it over with and just kill him, the beating stopped. The Freunds were deported to Gurs, a camp in southern France where Robert was separated from his wife and daughter.

Robert was transferred to the Drancy transit camp in August 1942 and was deported to Auschwitz on August 14. He was gassed upon arrival.

 

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