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Portrait of swimmer Josef Ginsburg sporting several medals after swimming across the English Channel for Denmark.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 45523

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    Portrait of swimmer Josef Ginsburg sporting several medals after swimming across the English Channel for Denmark.
    Portrait of swimmer Josef Ginsburg sporting several medals after swimming across the English Channel for Denmark.

Originally from Poland, Josef lived in Denmark before immigrating to Germany.

    Overview

    Caption
    Portrait of swimmer Josef Ginsburg sporting several medals after swimming across the English Channel for Denmark.

    Originally from Poland, Josef lived in Denmark before immigrating to Germany.
    Date
    Circa 1910 - 1920
    Locale
    Denmark
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Benny Guinossar

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Benny Guinossar
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2002.270

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Benny Guinossar (born Benno Ginsburg) is the son of Josef and Cilly (Bauman) Ginsburg. He was born May 20, 1930 in Frankfurt, Germany, where his father owned a greenhouse and worked as the gardener at a Jewish cemetery. Benno had an older brother Alfred (b. 1927). Josef Ginsburg, who was originally from Poland, immigrated illegally to Germany in the inter-war period using false papers in the name of Szczupak. The family observed Jewish holidays and attended synagogue but also celebrated Christmas at home. Early in 1938 Benno was forced to move to a Jewish school, and his parents began applying for visas to get out of Germany. In June of that year Josef was arrested and sent to Dachau. He was released two months later to the amazement of his family, since an SS officer had earlier visited the family with a box of ashes identified as belonging to Josef. Following his release, the family went to Hamburg to purchase tickets for the US, but when they arrived at the port they discovered that the price of the tickets had doubled. Lacking sufficient funds, the family was compelled to return to Frankfurt. On Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938) Josef was arrested and sent to Dachau a second time, where he was shot to death on December 29, 1940. After his arrest Cilly was determined to save her sons, at least, and arranged to have them sent on a Kindertransport to France, where they would be cared for by her sister and brother-in-law, Esther and Paul Edelist, who lived in Paris. The children departed on January 3, 1939. In keeping with Cilly's wishes, soon after their arrival Esther and Paul sent the boys on a children's transport to Switzerland. When they reached the border, however, they were denied entry and told to return on foot to France. Rather than turning around, the guides of the transport brought the children illegally into Switzerland and settled them in several different locations. Benno and Alfred were in Switzerland for approximately ten months before they were arrested by the Swiss police and sent back to France by train. Their trip back coincided with the German invasion of France, and their train was hit by German bombs. After spending a few months in Normandy, the boys finally returned to their aunt's house in Paris. For the next year and a half, the boys remained in Paris, but by the early summer of 1942 the situation had deteriorated so drastically that the decision was made to place Benno in hiding on a farm outside the city. He left on July 14. Unwilling to be separated from his brother, Benno tried to jump off the train. In order to convince him to leave, Alfred gave him his watch and promised to join him on the farm, where he would retrieve the watch, in two weeks time. Unfortunately, Alfred and his aunt were rounded-up two days later in the grand raffle of July 16. After being taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver, they were deported to Auschwitz, where they perished. Benno was unhappy on the farm. After about a year, a stranger approached Benno while he was tending the cows and talked to him about the work of the Maquis resistance. Immediately interested in joining, Benno lied about his age, claiming he was 17, though he was only 14 at the time. For the next two years Benno assisted the Maquis in blowing up train tracks and other forms of sabotage. In the fall of 1944, under the pretense of selling small bottles of cognac, Benno entered a German army base and sabotaged their vehicles by emptying small bottles of sugar water into the gas tanks. One of the soldiers caught him and beat him up in an attempt to get him to reveal who had sent him. Benno refused and three days later he was released in the wake of the rapid German retreat. In December 1944 he was sent to Limoges and put in contact with the OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants). From there he was sent to the Malmaison children's home near Paris. When it became clear that none of his relatives had survived, Benno decided to immigrate to Palestine. In 1946 he joined a hachshara (Zionist collective) in Toulouse, and six months later he boarded the illegal immigrant ship that became the Exodus 1947. When he was forced to return to Europe, Benno was sent to the Poppendorf displaced persons camp. He remained there until the end of January 1948, when he set off for Emden, then Bergen-Belsen (where he was issued false papers) and finally Marseilles. There he once again boarded a ship for Palestine, and this time reached his destination.
    Record last modified:
    2003-01-02 00:00:00
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