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Ruth Reutlinger and her mother, Elsa Reutlinger, go for a walk.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 24105

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    Ruth Reutlinger and her mother, Elsa Reutlinger, go for a walk.
    Ruth Reutlinger and her mother, Elsa Reutlinger, go for a walk.


    Ruth Reutlinger and her mother, Elsa Reutlinger, go for a walk.
    May 1939
    Pforzheim, [Baden] Germany

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Shlomo Reutlinger

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Fritz (Shlomo) Reutlinger is the son of Louis (b. July 14, 1894 Koenigsbach) and Elsa nee Hamburger (b. 1900, Dinkelsbuhl) Reutlinger. He was born October 31, 1925 in Pforzheim, Germany and had two younger siblings: Erich (b. April 20, 1929) and Ruth (b. Dec. 20, 1936). Shlomo's father sold construction materials, and the family lived above the store. Elsa's father and sister (a young woman with a son) lived in the same building. The family was Orthodox, but shared holidays with Christian neighbors. Shlomo was one of only a few Jewish children (all children of World War I veterans) who attended the Oberrealeschule. The main teacher disliked the Nazis and tried to protect him, but other teachers were antisemitic. Two years prior to Kristallnacht the family began preparations to emigrate but they did not know where to go. They even bought furniture which they hoped to take with them. Louis's brother worked in the diamond industry in Antwerp. He visited frequently and helped bring the family's money out of the country. Shortly before Shlomo was to celebrate his bar mitzvah, the Kristallnacht pogrom broke out. That afternoon Shlomo had a dress rehearsal at the synagogue with his teacher. His teacher, however, requested to speak to his mother and warned her not to send Shlomo to school that day. After midnight the family was woken up by noise. Storm troopers attacked Shlomo's grandfather and beat him up and left. They never went upstairs as they did not know anyone was living there. Shlomo's parents contacted the police and their family doctor. A nurse/nun who had been a family friend showed up to bandage his grandfather.

    In the morning they learned the extent of the damage. Many of their friends had been sent to Dachau and Buchenwald. They learned that the same events took place all over Germany. The family cancelled the bar mitzvah celebration, and Shlomo read his Torah portion at home in front of his immediate family. Shlomo's uncle urged his parents to send the children away. Shlomo and Erich were sent to Belgium to live with him in 1939. Shlomo attended a Flemish school and his brother went to Tachemoni. Soon afterwards their uncle left for Canada and left the boys in the care of a Jewish teacher in Brussels. In March 1940, his uncle's secretary enrolled Shlomo in a children's transport to Palestine. Shlomo first lived with relatives in Petach Tikvah and then joined a religious kibbutz. The children left on a Friday on a train to Paris and then to Marseille where they boarded a ship for Foreign Legion soldiers going to Algiers. They were dropped off in Haifa. Shlomo's brother remained in Belgium as he was too young. Shlomo never saw his brother again.
    In October 1940, the Gauleiter of southwestern Germany ordered the expulsion of nearly 7,000 Jews, including Shlomo's parents, sister and grandfather, to areas of unoccupied France. They brought the family's torah scroll with them. They were sent to the Gurs internment camp. Soon afterwards, Else's father, Moritz Hamburger, passed away at the age of 76. Shlomo had some contact with them though the Red Cross. The Reutlingers had a cousin in Paris who had a non-Jewish girlfriend who visited them in Gurs frequently. She arranged a visa for Shlomo's parents and sister to Cuba. They left France in 1941 and remained in Cuba until 1946, when they immigrated to New York. Shlomo reunited with his parents in the United States eleven years after they had parted. He earned a degree in economics and worked for the World Bank for thirty years. In 1994 he immigrated to Israel where his sister Ruth lives. To this day the family never learned when and how Erich perished.
    Record last modified:
    2010-11-08 00:00:00
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