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Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum passes at the age of 101.

Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum passes in Potsdam aged 101 years. Image: IMAGO / Metodi Popow

Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum passes in Potsdam aged 101 years. Image: IMAGO / Metodi Popow




On Monday night the Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum died in Potsdam at the age of 101. Leon Schwarzbaum was born as the son of a Polish-Jewish family in Hamburg in 1921, but he grew up in the Polish town of Bedzin in Upper Silesia. In 1943, after the dissolution of the ghetto there, the family, was deported to Auschwitz.

Leon Schwarzbaum was the only member of his family to survive the camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and a sub-camp of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He later lived in Berlin selling artworks and antiques. The film director Hans Erich Viet memorialized the life of this extraordinary man with his film The Jolly Boys’ Last Stand.

On hearing of Leon Schwarzbaum’s death, Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee said in Berlin:

“It is with sadness, respect and gratitude that Holocaust survivors around the world are bidding farewell to their friend, fellow sufferer and companion Leon Schwarzbaum, who became one of the most important witnesses of Shoah in the later decades of his life. Especially in the last years of his life, Leon Schwarzbaum was repeatedly driven by the need to remember his parents who were murdered in Auschwitz, and all of the victims of the Holocaust. He spoke out in their name. But he was also driven by his anger at the fact that so few SS perpetrators were ever brought before a German court of justice. His eye-witness testimony at the Auschwitz Trial in Detmold against Reinhold Hanning in 2016 is an everlasting document of humanity and remembrance.

Leon Schwarzbaum wanted no hatred. He wanted justice. Throughout his life Leon Schwarzbaum counteracted the humiliation and deep-seated pain of his youth with his elegance and his love of beautiful things. We are grateful that Berlin was able to become his new home.”


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81