Rolf Abrahamsohn was not only a witness to the Holocaust he was also witness to the remorselessness of some of his fellow country men.
One day a few months after the war Rolf encountered a man who was hitchhiking. Rolf felt sorry for the man because he only had one leg, so he decided to give him a lift.
After a few minutes the conversation turned to the Kristall nacht. The hitchhiker told Rolf that one night he was at a party he was told “come and meet us at the Loestraße tomorrow, you will see some action there” He said he did go there and walked into the Abrahamsohn’s textile shop,it had been burning already, but the place was filthy” At that stage Rolf stopped the car and kindly asked the man to leave the vehicle, when the hitchhiker got our Rolf said” I wish they had blown away your other leg too, our place wasn’t filthy”
The shop the man had been referring to was Rolf’s parents shop.
I mentioned fellow country men because Rolf was a German. Although the Abrahamsohn’s were Jewish they did celebrate Christmas like any other German, singing the same carols and hymns. They even sent their sons to an evangelical christian school.Rolf’s dad had fought for the German army during WWI, with the slogan “All Jews are proud to be German”
Rolf Abrahamsohn was born on March 9 in Marl,Germany. To Arthur Abrahamsohn (1888 – 1942), Else Abrahamsohn, geb. Gottschalk (1890 – 1944)
He had 3 brothers.Ludwig Abrahamsohn (1921 – 1924), Hans Abrahamsohn (1922 – 1942), Norbert Abrahamsohn (1933 – 1940).
Ludwig was born before Rolf, he died in an accident aged 3.Below is a picture of Rolf and his other 2 brothers.
Although they were Jewish the boys attended the evangelische Goetheschule in Marl.However due to increased antisemitism they left the school in 1934.
Arthur was beaten half to death during the Kristallnacht in November 1938. The shop had been damaged by fire,after that the family moved into a “Jew House” in Reckinghause. Shortly afterwards the Father and the older son Hans were arrested. When they were released again Arthur and Hans fled to Belgium.
Aged 14 Rolf was forced to do slave labour for companies in the Ruhr region one of the companies was Ruhrgas AG(Currently E-ON Ruhrgas)
In 1940 his youngest brother Norbert died of Diphtheria aged 7. In January 1942 Rolf and his Mother were deported to Riga where he survived the ghetto.
Later they were sent to the Kaiserwald concentration camp in Riga. Unfortunately his Mother did not survive due to the appalling living conditions.
Rolf then was deported to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig.
Subsequently he was then send to a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp where he was put to work in the armament production and clearing of bombs. The last few weeks of the war he spent in Theresienstadt where he eventually was liberated by Soviet troops.
Hoping to be re-united with some of his relatives he found out that his Father and Brother had both been killed after they had been deported from Belgium.
After the war he decided to re-open his Parents’ shop.
He has since become a successful business man and since the 80’s he has been involved in re-establishing a Jewish community in the Recklingshausen-Bochum area together with other survivors.