Last Auschwitz survivor in Norway passes away

May 6, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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The last Jewish Norwegian who survived Auschwitz has passed away and twill be given a State funeral.

Samuel Steinmann with cane   Photo Jens Brun Peder/Wikicommons

Samuel Steinmann with cane                        Photo Jens Brun Peder/Wikicommons

Norway’s King Harald V will attend the funeral along with many of the country’s dignitaries.

Samuel Steinmann was born on 24, 1923

He was the last living survivor of the Norwegian Jews who were deported to Auschwitz in the Fall of 1942

In 2013, he was the subject of a documentary called “The Tram to Auschwitz in which Sammy made that journey again, and the film follows him, merging the present with the past, and his account with the latest historical research.

Wikipedia has this to Steinmann:

Steinmann grew up on Nordstrand in Oslo and became a victim of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews in Europe during World War II.
On 21 September 1942, his family was evicted from their home by SS on two hours’ notice.

A month later, on 26 October, he was arrested by the Norwegian National Police under their main action to arrest male Norwegian Jews that day. [ 3]

In the autumn of 1942 he was first detained in Berg camp where Norwegian NS-bodyguard exposed him to violence and torture. In November the same year, he was deported on the slave ship DS “Danube” to Auschwitz along with 531 other Norwegian Jews.

Samuel Steinmann’ s brother, Harry Steinmann, was killed shortly after arriving at the camp. Samuel Steinmann bore the tattoo of prisoner number 79231.

In March 1943 he was of only twenty Norwegian Jews survived of the 186 that were selected for labor by the Germans.

Steinmann was transferred to work with window washing and subsequent hospital service in Monowitzleiren in Auschwitz, which probably saved his life, because the conditions in the hospital were much less brutal than the other labor camps.

Steinmann wrote: “The rest had perished. Frozen to death, starved to death, beaten to death, shot. The thing was that … you were sick and got into “krankenbau” as it was called, or “revier”, ie capture the hospital, and if you are not recovered within a few days then came SS-doctor basis of Auschwitz “hauptlager.”

He checked the  index cards indicating how long and in what condition prisoner were and if they were not strong enough to have a little chance of recovery. He added:  “Then you went through selection. Were you unfortunate as it was to the right and one was taken away by trucks and never came back. And it got the experience we then, people went straight into the gas chambers in Birkenau. ”
– Interview with Samuel Steinmann in 1997.

In January 1945 he was among the forced evacuee by the SS in Auschwitz when the Red Army invaded Poland. 66,000 Jewish prisoners were sent on death march. The Norwegian Jews who took part in this march included  Samuel Steinmann, Herman Sachnowitz, Julius Paltiel, Leo Eitinger, Assor Hirsch and Hirsch Pelle.

The march passed through the Czech Republic and into Germany to end up in Buchenwald. In Buchenwald were  Norwegian students who had been detained in autumn 1943.
In March, the white buses arrived at Buchenwald to retrieve Scandinavian prisoners, but Samuel Steinmann and the other four Norwegian Jews did not participate. They were first liberated by the Americans on April 11, after having cheated death again by stealing clothes with number of dead, non-Jewish prisoners. The five remained  in Buchenwald one month after liberation reaching Denmark on May 17th.

He returned to Oslo on 30 May 1945 after traveling through Germany and the last stretch by boat. In Møllergata he dropped in to witness Quisling sitting in his cell.

Samuel Steinmann lived recently in Oslo.

He was in 2012 awarded the King’s Medal of Merit in gold.
Samuel Steinmann was the grandfather of comedian Cecilie Steinmann NEESS.

 

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