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"Deserves to be called human being"

The Story of a Righteous Nazist

"Only one good German is enough, and this German deserves to be defended, to show that we do not have a right to pour hate on an entire population". These are the thoughts of Etty Hillesum, a Jewish intellectual who refused to be saved and gave himself up to the Germans in order to remain near his people. 

And at least there was a good German, even though he was a soldier of the Wehrmacht. His picture is now in Yisrael Fruman’s house, who is a Holocaust survivor.

Everything started when the granddaughter of Fruman saw the picture, which was published in Haaretz, in an article entitled  "As a soldier of the Wehrmacht was recognized Righteous Among the Nations."

The article tells the story of Gehrard Kurzbach, commander of the German army at the head of a workshop for the repair of military vehicles on the east of Krakow, who saved many Jews in the ghetto near Bochnia from deportation camps, hiding them in the workshop.

Before the Second World War there were about 3,500 Jews in Bochnia, almost 20% of the population of the city. The persecution of the Jews began immediately after the German occupation of Poland; the Bochnia ghetto was established in July 1941, bringing together all the Jews of the surrounding area.

The family of Kurzbach received the medal and the certificate of Righteous Among the Nations a few months ago.

Fruman recalls the meeting with Kurzbach on August 23, 1942. "Kurzbach arrived in the ghetto with a military truck and began to gather the people, he was screaming at us. We were really afraid of him. Only later we realized that those screams were a sort of alibi. He pretended not to be a 'lover of the Jews'; no one knew that he used his uniform to save us”. Fruman spent the night in the workshop, with some members of his family. The gates were closed, so no one could enter. In this way, hundreds of Jews were saved from deportation that was hitting the ghetto. The next day they all went back home.

Several months later, at the end of 1942, the Nazis dealt with Kurzbach. Frumer is probably the only living witness of his arrest; he saw five armed men approaching the workshop, who disarmed and arrested Kurzbach. After that no one ever heard for the captain again. 

After reading the article in Haaretz, Frumer wrote a letter to the family of Kurzbach: "Dear Kurzbach family, I will turn 85 years next summer. I will always be grateful to the man who saved me from death. I owe my life to Sergeant Kurzbach from Bochnia. He saved me, my parents and my younger brother from deportation to concentration camps”. With the help of an employee of the Israeli Embassy in Germany, Frumer was able to track down the relatives of Kurzbach, to whom he sent the letter published in Haaretz. Michael Scholl, grandson of Kurzbach, will meet Frumer in Israel next month.

"Kurzbach - remembers Frumer - is a person who truly deserves to be called 'human being'”. 

9 April 2013

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Shoah

the genocide of Jews

In the framework of second world war (1939-1945) Europe witnessed the genocide of the Jewish people (1941-1945). The “final solution“, the extermination of six million Jews, was planned by Hitler who had come on power in Germany in 1933. Since the publication of Mein Kampf, Hitler had planned the nationalsocialist revolution based on a racist ideology.
In the memory of the Jewish people and in the verdict that closed the works of the International Military Court, 6,000,000 victims of the extermination are estimated. As a matter of facts, the most reliable scholars including Raul Hilberg estimate about 5,200,000 victims.

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