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Oral history interview with Heinz Drossel

Oral History | Accession Number: 2007.102 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0517

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Heinz Drossel, a German who received the Righteous Gentile award from Israel in 2000 for saving a number of Jews during World War II, discusses his childhood in Berlin; his liberal religious upbringing and numerous, positive encounters with the Jewish community; completing his legal studies in November 1939, but being denied a position in the courts because he was not a member of the Nazi party; being drafted and spending six years at war, first in France and later as an officer on the Eastern Front; his ongoing struggle to reconcile his opposition to the Nazi cause with his responsibility for the welfare of his troops; saving a young Jewish woman who was about to jump off a bridge in Berlin; how this young woman survived the Holocaust and later became his wife; saving a number of other Jews by hiding them in his family’s apartment; encountering obstacles in his legal career after the war, due to the persistence of Nazi sympathies and the fact that his wife was a Jew; serving as a judge for many years before being elected as the head of the prestigious Courts Council, the body that oversees all judicial hiring and promotions; retiring in 1981 and volunteering as a Zeitzeuge (Contemporary Witness); lecturing widely to reveal the truth about war and the moral dilemmas his audience may face; and his warning to his audiences that that while human rights in Germany have greatly improved, antisemitism and xenophobia are still very real.

Interviewee
Heinz Drossel
Interviewer
Regina Bayer
Date
2007 May 14  (interview)
Language
German
Extent
5 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
Interview funded by a grant from the Lerner Family Foundation.
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 11:18:48
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn519024