Leuchter, Kurt

Kurt Leuchter was born February 6, 1929 in Vienna, Austria.  He grew up there in the 1930s and remembers well the dark days of the Anschluss, when the Nazis marched in.  Restrictions began to set in, and then the real brutality was unleashed during Kristallnacht.  Kurt recalls seeing the synagogue burned, and remembers his father being taken away.  Many Jewish men were arrested and deported to Dachau, though Kurt’s father was lucky to avoid that fate in 1938.  The family was told they would be forced to leave Austria so they began to look for an escape, eventually making their way from Austria to Belgium.  The German blitzkrieg fell upon Belgium too though, and the family was interned and later sent to France.  Kurt’s father would be held in a series of camps, while Kurt and his mother stay in internment camps in the Marseilles area.  The regime came looking for them and other Jews in Vichy France though, and Kurt’s parents had to make a difficult decision.  They decided to put Kurt in the care of a Jewish aid agency, saving his life; Kurt’s parents were deported to their deaths in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Protected by the OSE, the now teenaged Kurt fought in the French underground in the later part of the war, and in 1946 he made his way to the U.S.with a group of Jewish orphans  He married Edith Loeb, also a Holocaust survivor, and the two of them raised their own family and found their way in the postwar world.  They now share their story with a view to creating a better world based on understanding and tolerance.  Crestwood students were able to zoom with Kurt and his wife Edith Loeb in December 2023.


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