Monday, 26 January 2015

Latin American connections with the Holocaust

Tomorrow we commemorate 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. has a fascinating article on the Peruvian victims of Auschwitz - I confess, I had no idea there were any. But apparently, there were 17 of them. Like Héctor David Levy, shot for asking for water during forced labour, and his wife and two young children, who were gassed. The two children became Peru's youngest victims of the Second World War.

Victoria Barouh Avayü was the only Peruvian Auschwitz survivor, having lost her entire family. Many years later, she went back to the concentration camp to see what had become of it and of fellow survivors.

More information about Peruvians in the camps may be found in the book Estación final by Hugo Coya (Aguilar, 2013).

Los peruanos de Auschwitz, por Hugo Coya (

Semana discusses the Auschwitz survivors who came to Colombia: Ana Orgel de Czeizler, Raquel Gedalovich, Jacobo Bron and Max Kirschberg. The article is worth reading and illustrated with beautiful photos by Erika Diettes.

"Most people have heard about what happened. But it wasn't just the Jews who suffered. There were non-Jewish Germans there, because they didn't accept the ideology, or because they argued about something, they ended up there. They took people from other faiths, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, and many gypsies", says Kirschberg. When the camp was liberated, Kirschberg had lost his parents, but he recalled that his mother had told him he had an uncle living in Colombia, so he came there. In 1952, he returned to Germany to study, marry and have children, but in 1976 he returned for good with one of his sons.

More information about Colombian survivors may be found in the book Sobrevivientes del Holocausto que rehicieron su vida en Colombia, edited by Hilda Demner and Estela Goldstein

Los sobrevivientes de Auschwitz que hicieron vida en Colombia (Semana)

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