Holocaust survivor Trude Simonsohn dies

Status: 06.01.2022 11:35 a.m.

The Holocaust survivor Trude Simonsohn died at the age of 100. She was imprisoned in the Theresienstadt and Auschwitz concentration camps. From 1975 onwards she reported on her experiences mainly in schools.

The Holocaust survivor Trude Simonsohn is dead. She died on Thursday at the age of 100, as the Jewish community in Frankfurt am Main announced. As a survivor of the Shoah, Simonsohn campaigned for reconciliation and respectful coexistence. For example, she reported to school classes about the atrocities in the National Socialist concentration and extermination camps. For her social and socio-political engagement she received, among other things, the Ignatz Bubis Prize for Understanding.

The community chairman, Salomon Korn, said: “We are stunned and saddened by this great loss.” He praised Simonsohn as a remarkable, outstanding woman who always acted for the benefit of other people.

“Always full of hope and courage”

Simonsohn lived in Frankfurt from 1955 and was chairwoman of the local Jewish community from 1989 to 1992. “Through her tireless commitment, especially to tell young people in schools what they had experienced, she worked for a more peaceful society,” said Korn. “Trude has always shaped her life full of hope and courage and believed in a better world that has learned from her past.”

Simonsohn was born on March 25, 1921 in Olomouc (Olomouc) in what is now the Czech Republic. She grew up in a liberal Jewish family. After the invasion of the German Wehrmacht, her father was arrested in September 1939 and later murdered in the Dachau concentration camp. Simonsohn was involved in Jewish youth work and helped Jewish youth to emigrate to Palestine.

Deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 1942

In November 1942 she was deported with her mother to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where she met her future husband, the social pedagogue and lawyer Berthold Simonsohn. In October 1944 the couple were deported to Auschwitz, separated from each other and later taken to different concentration camps.

Trude Simonsohn was finally liberated in May 1945 from the Merzdorf camp, a satellite camp of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp, by soldiers of the Red Army. Her mother was murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her husband Berthold Simonsohn died in 1978 in Frankfurt am Main.

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