Survivors' Stories

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Leon Weintraub

  • From: Poland (Lodz)
  • Liberated from: Germany (Donauschingen)
  • Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from: Poland (Lodz-Litzmannstadt Ghetto)
  • Current Location: Sweden (Stockholm)
  • Year of birth: 1926

Brief Bio

Leon Weintraub was born on 1 January 1926 in Lodz, Poland. After his father’s death in 1927, his mother had to raise Leon and his four sisters on her own.

 

He graduated from primary school, 6 grade, in June 1939. In Winter 1939, under the Nazi occupation, the Weintraub family had to move to the Ghetto-Litzmannstadt. 14-year old Leon had to start to work at the “Resort” Metall I, first as a metalworker, later as a plumber, and finally as an electrician. In August 1944, the Germans started the liquidation of the Ghetto, and the Weintraub family were deported to the Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Leon was separated from the rest of his family.

After a couple of weeks, Leon managed, unobserved by the guards, to escape from Auschwitz and join a transport to Wüstegiersdorf. The next camp was Dörnhau where he, as an ”expert,” had to work as an electrician for the Organisation Todt. Leon remained at Dörnhau until February 1945. He was then – after a ”Death March” – transferred to KZ Flossenbürg. He was finally liberated by the French Forces close to Donaueschingen.

Leon was hospitalized in Donaueschingen for several weeks and spent his convalescence in a French military sanatorium on the peninsula Reichenau. By accident, he learned that three of his sisters had survived in Bergen-Belsen. He arrived there in September 1945.

In Autumn 1946, Leon started his studies at the Medical School in Göttingen. He returned to Poland in November 1950. His German wife, Katja Hof, joined him in April 1951, together with their son, born in January 1948. Leon worked at the Gynecology & Obstetrics Clinic in Warsaw and later received his Ph.D. in January 1966. After losing his job at the hospital in Otwock, he moved with his family to neutral Sweden in 1969. Katja died in Stockholm in December 1970. In 1976, he married Evamaria Loose.

 

What does Auschwitz mean to you?

Auschwitz means..a place of indescribable cruelty, and the place where my mother was murdered.

My message for future generations is…

Never Forget! Do everything so that those cruelties do not happen again.

Who will be accompanying you on this journey?

Accompanying me are my wife, my son Andrzej, with his wife Nora and son Pierre.