A Very Brief History of Freiburg Jews & the Holocaust

Of the 6 million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust, between 300 and 350 of them were from Freiburg.*

*I haven’t found an exact number of deaths of Freiburg Jews, but there were 350 Jewish citizens who were arrested and deported to Camp Gurs, an internment camp in southwest France.

Camp Gurs was, at the start of World War II, an internment camp for Germans and other citizens from the Axis Powers, and also for those who were considered dangerous to the French government. In 1940, after an armistice was signed with the Nazis, Gurs became a camp for Jews of any nationality except France.

The majority of Jewish people who survived Camp Gurs were sent to their death in 1942 to Auschwitz, a concentration/extermination camp located in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany. (Again, I don’t have specifics for how many Freiburg Jews survived Gurs to be sent to Auschwitz, and I don’t know how many survived Gurs and were spared.)

My main reason for writing this post is my appreciation for the (very) subtle yet (very) permanent memorial to each of the Jewish citizens from Freiburg who were sent to these concentration camps.

Brass plates, about 4″x4″ big, are set into the pavement outside each citizen’s former residence. Each plate contains as much personal information as is known, including the name, occupation, date of birth, date of arrest and deportation, name of the camp they were sent to and killed at (or survived), and year of death.

They are spread throughout the city, some areas more dense with brass plates than others. It actually took me nearly 2 months to notice them, and this was only after Brian discovered them by accident as well. Here are two sets of plates I took pictures of. One is a couple that was killed in Auschwitz, and the other, a couple that survived Camp Gurs.


Here lived Berthold & Else Weil, deported 1940 to Camp Gurs, killed in 1942 in Auschwitz


Here lived Robert & Berta Grumbach – Robert was arrested in 1938 and sent to Dachau (the first of the Nazi Concentration Camps), and both were deported to Camp Gurs in 1940. The last line says they survived.

One thought on “A Very Brief History of Freiburg Jews & the Holocaust

  1. Wow. That’s such a powerful way to memorialize the people from Freiburg who were killed or taken. They stood and lived where we stand and live.


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