Gerhard Durlacher

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Gerhard Leopold Durlacher (born July 10, 1928 in Baden-Baden ; died July 2, 1996 in Haarlem ) was a Dutch writer and sociologist . He was a Holocaust survivor .

Live and act

Stumbling blocks of the Durlacher family in Baden-Baden

Durlacher grew up in Baden-Baden, where his grandmother had a furniture shop. However, the Durlachers were a Jewish family, and Gerhard Durlacher was confronted with anti-Jewish behavior very early on. He and one other Jewish child were excluded from the class photo .

In 1937 Gerhard Durlacher's parents emigrated with him to relatives in the Netherlands. But they weren't safe there either. On October 2, 1942, he was deported with his parents and aunt to the Westerbork transit camp . In January 1944 they were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto and later to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp . He was the only one who survived.

After the war, he taught sociology at the University of Amsterdam .

In 1959 he married Anneke Sasburg, also a sociologist. From this marriage three daughters were born. His eldest daughter Jessica Durlacher (* 1961) is a Dutch writer. She writes about parents who survived the Holocaust and how they and their children cope with it.

He hardly told his family anything about his experiences during National Socialism ; they learned about it from his book.


  • Wonderful people. Stories from freedom. Translated from the Dutch by Maria Csollány, Europ. Verlag-Anstalt, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-434-50425-7 .
  • Drowning - A Childhood in the Third Reich. Published 1987 in Dutch, 1993 in German, ISBN 3-434-50023-5 .
  • Streaks in the sky. Stories from war and the like Persecution. From the Dutch by Rosemarie Still . Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1988, ISBN 3-499-18383-8 .


In 2008, three stumbling blocks were laid for him and his parents in the presence of his widow. They are in Baden-Baden at Lichtentaler Strasse 56, where he spent his first years.

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