Family Research for the Next Generations
The fate of his family brought Gerd Loewenstein to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen in mid-May 2012. “My children and grandchildren have asked questions about our family history”, explained Loewenstein. “At the ITS we have managed to find details in the transport lists, statements on the possession of foreign exchange and index cards.”
Born in Düsseldorf on 8th June 1931, Loewenstein was taken by his Catholic mother Adelheit and his Jewish father Simon Robert to the Netherlands in 1938 – an early family attempt to escape persecution by the Nazis if only for the time being. “It was the best thing my parents could do”, comments Loewenstein in retrospect. In the era of Nazi persecution, relations between Jews and “Aryan” partners were called “Mischehen” (mixed marriages). Most of these families were saved from deportation and thus escaped genocide until shortly before the war end.
His Jewish aunts and uncle, on the other hand, were deported. “We had learned about my relatives’ fate”, recalls the 80-year-old. “They were taken to Westerbork, to Theresienstadt and to Auschwitz.” He remembers that his parents sent parcels to Theresienstadt. “Confirmations of receipt were sent in response to the first dispatches. But after a while, they stopped.”
The documents kept at the ITS enrich and complete the knowledge about his family. Back in Australia where Loewenstein immigrated in 1959 he wants to show the documents’ copies to his children and grandchildren and go over them together with his offspring. “If people are told about the brutal methods the National Socialists used against their contemporaries, the Holocaust will not be forgotten”, underlines Loewenstei