Paul Niedermann

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Paul Niedermann (2008)

Paul Niedermann (born November 1, 1927 in Sindolsheim ; † December 7, 2018 in Paris ) was a survivor of the Holocaust and a German contemporary witness of the National Socialist persecution of Jews in Germany and France . He lived in France after the end of World War II .


On October 22, 1940, at the age of almost thirteen, Niedermann was deported from Karlsruhe to the Gurs internment camp in southern France with his family members - parents, grandfather and four years younger brother Arnold - as part of the so-called Wagner-Bürckel campaign . After eight months he was transferred to the Rivesaltes camp on the Mediterranean .

In 1942 he and his brother Arnold managed to escape, which had been organized by the Jewish underground organization Œuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE). Together with other Jewish children, including David Hirsch from Dirmstein , who was born in 1928 , the Niedermann brothers were subsequently hidden in various places in France, including the Izieu children 's home ( children of Izieu ). Arnold Niedermann was able to be smuggled from the OSE via Portugal to Baltimore (USA) to her mother's sister. Paul Niedermann, like his school friend Hanna Meyer-Moses (* 1927), was brought to safety across the Swiss border with other Jewish children at the end of 1943 .

With the exception of the two brothers, all other abducted family members fell victim to the Holocaust . The parents were transported to extermination camps across Europe in 1942; the father died in Majdanek , the mother in Auschwitz . The grandfather had died earlier in Gurs.

After the Second World War, Paul Niedermann settled in France. He spent his working life, among other things as a journalist and photographer, in Paris, where he also lived in retirement. His brother lived in the United States and died in Los Angeles in 2000 .

Niedermann met his fellow sufferer and escapist David Hirsch more often, including on March 25, 2009 in Dirmstein. At that time, Hirsch, the only one still alive from the deported Jews of the village, had come from Argentina to lay the stumbling block for his family.

Significance as a contemporary witness

During his testimony as a witness in the trial of Klaus Barbie , who was on trial in Lyon for war crimes in France in 1987 , Niedermann was first publicly confronted with his own story. In 1988, at the invitation of the city administration, he officially returned to Karlsruhe for the first time, where he reported on his experiences. Since then he has been invited to give lectures throughout Germany. The descriptions of his personal experiences were clear and haunting, he spoke freely for two to three hours without written records. In addition to his lecturing activities, he also took an active part in guided tours in the Gurs camp. Dialogue with young people was particularly important to him. With his commitment, Niedermann wanted to ensure that the past and the Shoah do not disappear from public and private consciousness. That is why he emphasized in his lectures:

“As long as I'm still alive, I can scream against injustice and oblivion. But when I'm no longer there and my generation, then it's up to you to cry out. "



  • Thomas Lindemann (Ed.): You can't build on hatred. Memories . Info Verlag, Karlsruhe 2011, ISBN 978-3-88190-643-2 .
  • Thomas Lindemann (Ed.): Un enfant juif, un homme libre. Mémoires . Info Verlag, Karlsruhe 2011, ISBN 978-3-88190-673-9 .
  • Ernst Otto Bräunche (Ed.): Letters - Gurs - lettres. Letters from a Baden-Jewish family from French internment camps. Paul Niedermann, memories = mémoires . Info Verlag, Karlsruhe 2011, ISBN 978-3-88190-619-7 .
  • City of Mannheim (Department of Children, Youth and Family - Youth Welfare Office) and Stadtjugendring Mannheim e. V. (Ed.): Gurs 1170 km. For the deportation of Jews from Baden and Palatinate to Gurs . Exhibition and project documentation of the group "Souvenir de Gurs", Mannheim 2006.

Web links

Commons : Paul Niedermann  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Niedermann, un ancien enfant juif de la Maison d'Izieu, s'est éteint le 7 décembre à l'âge de 91 ans. In: December 13, 2018, accessed on December 15, 2018 (in French, "Paul Niedermann, formerly a Jewish child from the Izieu house , died on December 7th at the age of 91").
  2. Jürgen Bich (bjg): "We are 120 years old" . In: Die Rheinpfalz , local edition Frankenthaler Zeitung . Ludwigshafen March 28, 2009.
  3. Albert H. Keil (Red.): "Dirmstein remembers" . Days of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism. Ed .: Dirmstein municipality. Dirmstein 2009, p. 5 f . ( online [PDF; 333 kB ]).
  4. Hildegard Janssen-Müller (hjm): Moving Gurs film premiered in the Casimirianum . In: Die Rheinpfalz , local edition Mittelhaardter Rundschau . Ludwigshafen January 31, 2009 (world premiere in the Casimirianum Neustadt ).