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Oral history interview with Heinz Drossel

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

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.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Heinz Drossel
Interviewer
Regina Bayer
Date
interview:  2007 May 14
Language
German
Extent
5 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
Interview funded by a grant from the Lerner Family Foundation.
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:37:41
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn519024