Norbert Masur

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Norbert Masur (1901–1971) was Sweden's representative to the World Jewish Congress (WJC). He aided in the rescue of Nazi concentration camp victims during World War II.

Masur was born in Friedrichstadt, Germany, one of ten children of Leiser Masur and Hanna Masur (née Levy). As an exiled Jewish German, he emigrated to Stockholm and lived after World War II both there and in Tel Aviv.[1]

The WJC was founded in Geneva in 1936 to unite the Jewish people and to mobilise the world against the Nazi onslaught.[2] With the help of Heinrich Himmler's Swedish doctor, Felix Kersten, the Swedish section of the WJC arranged a secret meeting on 21 April 1945 between Masur and Himmler about 70 kilometres north of Berlin.[3] Masur proved himself a determined negotiator and he was promised safe conduct by Himmler. As a result of this meeting and subsequent negotiations with the head of the Swedish Red Cross, Folke Bernadotte, the WJC was allowed to save about 7,000 women from the women's Ravensbrück concentration camp. Approximately half of these women, who had been deported from over 40 nations, were Jewish.[4] After their liberation they were housed in camps in southern Sweden. Masur expressed his shock at the poor health of the women after several years' imprisonment in various camps. His view was that for the Polish Jews in particular a return to their home country was impossible. Given the background of the destruction of Jewish communities, the annihilation of the former prisoners' families, and their experiences in the ghettos, emigration to Palestine appeared to be the only option open to the women if they were to regain their dignity.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitteilungsblatt der Gesellschaft Für Friedrichstädter Stadtgeschichte (1980), vol. 17, p.270/272 (German)
  2. ^ http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/about About World Jewish Congress (WJC)
  3. ^ Penkower, Monty Noam (1988). The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8143-1952-9
  4. ^ http://www.ravensbrueck.de/mgr/index.html History of Ravensbrueck concentration camp from 1939-1945 (German)
  5. ^ http://www.brookdalecc.edu/pages/992.asp Report to the World Jewish Congress by Mr. Norbert Masur