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Klara Rothe, the Lewinnek's governess, stands outside a building in Arosa, Switzerland.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 69014

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    Klara Rothe, the Lewinnek's governess, stands outside a building in Arosa, Switzerland.
    Klara Rothe, the Lewinnek's governess, stands outside a building in Arosa, Switzerland.

    Overview

    Caption
    Klara Rothe, the Lewinnek's governess, stands outside a building in Arosa, Switzerland.
    Date
    1933
    Locale
    Arosa, Switzerland
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Arieh Lewinnek

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Arieh Lewinnek

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Horst Louis (later Georges, later Arieh) Lewinnek is the son of Karl Lewinnek (b. Kamin, Prussia, April 23, 1892) and Rosa Halbreich Lewinnek (b. Heidelberg, May 8, 1892). Horst was born in Berlin on March 21, 1927. His older sister Hannalore (Anne Laure) was born on December 21, 1924. Karl Lewinnek came from a family of classically educated and assimilated German Jews. Rosa's parents were Polish-born Orthodox Jews. Karl and Rosa married in 1921. Karl served in the German army in WWI and even after Hitler's rise to power, received a military medal as a war veteran. After finishing high school Karl was accepted an apprenticeship in a bank, and soon after at the young age of 21 he obtained a seat on the stock market in Berlin. He became very well known, had the confidence of his colleagues and purchased bonds for the State Bank and for other large institutions. This afforded him an excellent income, and he built a large mansion for the family in Charlottenberg. However, in 1934 with the advent of the Nuremberg laws his father was expelled from his position after almost thirty years of work. Rosa, the two children and governess spent six months in Switzerland while Karl wound up his affairs in Berlin. In 1934 the entire family left for Belgium. They received a two year residency permit on condition they did not financially compete with Belgians. Prohibited from working in a bank, Karl imported novelties from Germany.

    In May 1940, Germany invaded Belgium. The Belgian government responded by rounding up male enemy aliens. Karl was arrested and sent to Saint Cyprien in France. Rosa decided to flee Belgium together with the two children to be nearer to her husband, but police arrested them at the station and imprisoned them in Brussels. Two days later, they were deported in an overcrowded cattle car marked 5th Column. After six days, they arrived in Gurs, a camp in southern France. Arieh was able to remain with his mother and sister in the women's barracks. After they learned that Karl had been sent to Saint Cyprien, Rosa requested that they be transferred there as well. The family reunited only for Karl to be shipped to Gurs. Rosa, Anne Laure and Arieh remained in Saint Cyprien. Both Arieh and his mother became ill and spent time in the infirmary. Rosa's brother had been living in Chamonix and invited the Lewinneks to join him. Rosa found lodging in Chamonix, and the children attended school. Karl was forced to remain in Gurs until a cousin working as the Costa Rican consul in Stockholm and obtained his release. Eventually Karl reunited with the rest of the family. However, when he arrived the family was shocked to see that he had lost 30 kilos while in camp.


    The family remained in Chamonix for some time, until on August 26, 1942 a Jewish friend working for the resistance alerted them that all foreign Jews would be arrested and deported. The family went into hiding, and assisted by the justice of the peace Viegut, they found a smuggler to take them to Switzerland. Anne Laure and Arieh went first, followed by their parents. They walked for two days in inclement weather, climbing over 3,000 meters. On a similar journey his aunt and uncle incurred a terrible snow storm, were abandoned by their guide and found frozen death.

    Anne Laure had taken English classes with two English Protestant resistance members who told her if she made it to Switzerland, she should find Pastor Brechet in Lausanne. After arriving in Switzerland she and Arieh took a train to Lausanne where the pastor welcomed them. Though they had been stopped at the border, Karl and Rosa also succeeded in making their way to Switzerland and eventually came to Lausanne as well. They remained there from 1942-1944. Anne Laure met and married a Belgian Jew, and Arieh studied with the famous educator Piaget. After the end of the war, the family returned to Belgium and later immigrated to Canada. Arieh worked for the Jewish Vocational Service and eventually received a doctorate in child psychology.
    Record last modified:
    2014-06-30 00:00:00
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