THE 20 CHILDREN
Eduard Reichenbaum was born in Kattowitz, Poland, on 15 November 1934. His family called him Edulek. His father, Ernst Reichenbaum, was employed as a bookkeeper in a subsidiary of a German publishing house. Shortly before the beginning of the Second World War, the family moved with Eduard and his brother Jerzy, two years older, to Piotrków Trybunalski near Łódź, where the grandparents lived.
In 1943 the family was taken to the Bliżyn Labor Camp. Eduard and Jerzy had to work in a forced labor detachment producing socks for the German armed forces. Nine-year-old Eduard was able to escape the selection process in Bliżyn in which 50 children aged less than 10 were deported and murdered. Eduard’s father, whose knowledge of German enabled him to work in the camp offices, had forged his date of birth. The whole family was deported to Auschwitz in September 1944. Jerzy and his father were sent to the men’s camp; the father died in November. Eduard was initially put into the women’s camp with his mother, Sabina Reichenbaum. He was later moved to the children’s barracks. Sabina Reichenbaum was sent to a satellite camp of Buchenwald Concentration Camp in November 1944. The mother of Riwka Herszberg, Mania, was in the same transport.
Eduard was brought to Neuengamme Concentration Camp on 28 November 1944; he was murdered on 20 April 1945 here in Bullenhuser Damm. When Auschwitz Concentration Camp was cleared, Jerzy Reichenbaum was taken to the more westerly concentration camps of Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen; he survived. In the same year, the 13-year-old Jerzy emigrated to Israel. His mother followed him in 1947. They searched for Eduard, but it was not until 1984 that Jerzy – now known as Ytzhak – found out about his brother Eduard’s fate through an article in the Israeli newspaper Maariv. Ytzhak Reichenhaum was a regular visitor to the remembrance ceremonies at Bullenhuser Dam, where he told German youngsters about the fate of his brother.
Ytzhak Reichenbaum and his wife Bella passed away in Haifa/Israel in October 2020.