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Heinz Rosenberg

Goettingen, Germany

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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