Researching her family history, Sigrid Falkenstein found her aunt’s name – Anna Lehnkering – on a list of 30,000 people who were murdered by the Nazis as part of the Aktion T4 project in the year 1940/1941. This spurred Sigrid on to find out more both about her Aunt and Aktion T4, the Nazi programme for sterilising and murdering those with mental or physical disabilities.
Born in 1927, Otto Rosenberg grew up in Berlin with his grandmother and two siblings. His family were Sinti, a Romani population of central Europe. Otto remembers living on private rented ‘lots’ of land that his family shared with the caravans and houses of extended family and other members of the Sinti community.
“They arrested my Dad the day he had his monthly pay packet in his pocket. They closed our bank account and refused my mum a working card, telling her that there was neither work nor help for vermin," Simone Arnold Liebster.
Albrecht Becker was an actor and production designer, who lived with his partner in Würzburg, Bavaria. He was arrested, put on trial and imprisoned for being gay. He survived the war and died in 2002.
Rudolf Brazda was the last known concentration camp survivor deported specifically for homosexuality. Twice imprisoned for homosexuality, he was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1942 where he was subject to forced labour for 32 months.
Despite being both gay and Jewish, Gad Beck survived the entire duration of Nazi rule living in Berlin. He was 19 when in 1941 his friends and neighbours began to be rounded up and deported. He made the decision to actively resist Nazi Persecution, assuming a leading role in the Chug Chaluzi Jewish resistance group.
Waldemar Nods was the grandson of a slave from Suriname, who moved to the Netherlands in 1927, aged 19. He had a son – Waldy – with his Dutch wife – Rika – and together they hid Jews from the Nazis during the German occupation. They were caught and deported to concentration camps in Germany.
Amalie Schaich is a German Romani survivor of Nazi Persecution. She was separated from her parents at the age of nine, before being sent to Auschwitz in 1944. She was one of only four children to have been selected to be a labourer in Auschwitz, while the other children in her group were sent to the gas chambers.
Ceija Stojka was a Romany Gypsy who was persecuted by the Nazis. She was deported with 200 members of her extended family to Auschwitz where most of them were murdered upon arrival. In later life Ceija Stojka spent her time promoting the rights of Roma people, highlighting through her experiences what can happen when prejudice and hatred are allowed to take hold.
‘The girl with the headscarf’ was identified by Dutch journalist Aad Wagenaar in the early 1990s as Romani girl Anna Maria ‘Settela’ Steinbach. Here, Rainer Schulze, Professor of Modern European History at the University of Essex, shares her story.
Johann ‘Rukeli’ Trollmann was born on 27 December 1907 near Hannover. He was a popular German Sinto boxer, who was discriminated against, marginalised, sterilised, and finally deported to a concentration camp, where he was murdered. Here, Rainer Schulze, Professor of Modern European History at the University of Essex, shares his story.
Eva Jirankova led a privileged life in Prague before the Nazi invasion. However in 1942 her husband Miloš Jiránek, a prominent Czech cultural figure, was arrested and imprisoned in a concentration camp. He survived nearly three years of incarceration and a four month death march. Eva speaks about this in this testimony.
Berge Kanikanian was born in England in 1968, and has learning difficulties. He was inspired to make a film about Aktion T4, the Nazi programme which attempted to murder German citizens who had mental or physical disabilities. He tells us about his Journey.
The Bock Family has spent most of their lives fleeing persecution and prejudice, because they are Romany. In this interview the members of the family describe their family story - including deportation to Nazi death camps, and more recent experiences of persecution and prejudice in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.