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“The Information has opened a Window”

In the company of his family, Michael Dimor spent a week in Germany seeing the home places of his Jewish Family. The Israeli felt the need to also have a stop at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. On site, he looked at records from Concentration Camp Buchenwald, cards from Transit Camp Westerbork, registration lists from the rural districts of Kassel and Waldeck-Frankenberg and at his grandfather’s death certificate. “Reading the original documents is so incredible an experience”, so Dimor.

Dimor himself was twice in luck seeing the light of day in Israel in 1937 and growing up there. His parents Else and Max immigrated to Israel immediately after the National Socialists had seized power. “My divorced grandparents Helene and Moritz stayed behind in Germany”, knows he. “As my mother did hardly say a word about the Holocaust and her family, the only leftovers from my grandfather are his name and photo”, relates the 74-year-old.

Moritz Mildenberg was born in Waldeckian Vöhl in 1880. Having divorced his wife Helene, he moved to the neighbouring locality of Sachsenhausen. When the Nazi regime unleashed the November pogroms in 1938, Moritz and 26,000 other Jews were sent and confined to concentration camps. Following a four-week incarceration in Concentration Camp Buchenwald, Moritz was allowed to return, though, and employed by the Kassel “Aktiengesellschaft für pharmazeutische Bedarfsartikel” (public limited company for items of pharmaceutical needs) for the time being.

When Jews came to be persecuted on a systematic scale, the Grebe family decided to hide him in Sachsenhausen. So he had the good fortune of being the only Jew in the North Waldeckian area who was not deported. “This was possible only, because the residents of the Sachsenhausen village were loyal to one another”, Moritz’ grandson knows today. Contemporary witnesses in Sachsenhausen and Vöhl pieced together flashlight like memories of his grandfather’s life for Dimor. “He is said to have been a cheerful person”, Karl-Heinz Stadtler, the mayor of Vöhl, could learn, “and used to take care of the entertainment at parties.”

Tragically, Moritz did not come to see the war end any more since he suffered a heart attack he died from in Sachsenhausen on 5th January 1945. During his visit to Germany, Dimor went to see the still existing grave on the Vöhl cemetery. “The information has opened a window. Now I have the feeling of knowing my grandfather a bit”, he says.

After her divorce, Dimor’s grandmother Helene went to Dortmund taking her daughters along with herself. When the Nazis increased their persecution strain, they fled to the Netherlands. “My grandmother came to Israel at the time and was staying here for a year. But she went back”, knows Dimor. And her persecutors did not fail to catch her in her refuge in the Netherlands. “After suffering temporary confinement in Transit Camp Westerbork, my grandmother and other family members were deported to Auschwitz”, the Israeli national reports. “And this fact is confirmed to me now by the ITS records.”