I could have done a piece on any of the millions of victims of the Holocaust. The reason why I picked Kurt Jozef Rudolf Rosenthal, is because he was murdered today 80 years ago.
His story is still important today because he was a refugee, trying to find a better future but he found death instead.
He was born in Arnsberg, Germany , on 12 May 1922.He was murdered in Mauthausen, 25 July 1941.
His life was interrupted in many ways. When he was 14 he decided to flee Germany. His Parents had already done so and fled to Zurich in Switzerland. Young Kurt decided to go to the Netherlands, I presume because it was quite near. Why his parents didn’t take him with them to Zurich I don’t know.
In 1934, a Quaker school was set up in Eerde (Ommen town),in the Netherlands . A few young German Jewish refugees attended the school, where they were educated for a farming life in Israel. Kurt Jozef Rudolf Rosenthal was one of them, he registered on September 3,1936.
In 1940 Kurt felt unsafe in Eerde and moved to Amsterdam, at that stage his Parents had already moved there. They were reunited again as a family.
Kurt managed to raise enough money to get a Visa for the USA, however he would have to travel through Germany for it. I don’t know why he didn’t but I can only imagine that he thought he would not survive that journey. He would more then likely be right in that assumption. During the early Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, things had not changed all that much for the Jews. So Kurt probably still felt safe enough.
Kurt never left for the US. On June 11,1941, he was picked up together with 310 other men. He ended up in Schoorl transit camp, originally a Dutch army camp from 1939 to 1940), but was converted to a Nazi concentration camp (1940–1941) near the village of Schoorl in the Netherlands.
From Schoorl, Kurt was deported to Mauthausen. Austria on June 26,1941. Where He was murdered nearly a month later, on July 25,1941.
Aside from the fact he was murdered there are a few things that disturb me in his story. First of all, why did he have to raise money to get a Visa. At that stage it must have been clear to the US authorities what the Nazis were about and what they were doing. Visa should have been provided at no costs.
Why was there no Dutch family who could have looked after a 14 year old refugee.
I don’t know what happened to his parents but I can only assume they were also murdered.
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