Norbert Masur

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Norbert Masur (Mazur) (1901–1971) was Sweden's representative to the World Jewish Congress (WJC). The WJC was founded in Geneva in 1936 to unite the Jewish people and to mobilise the world against the Nazis. He aided in the rescue of 7000 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). He was a German Jew who emigrated to Stockholm and then to Tel Aviv after WW2.[1]

With the help of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler's osteopath, Felix Kersten, the Swedish section of the WJC arranged secret meetings in 1945 between Masur, Walter Schellenberg and Himmler about 70 kilometres north of Berlin.[2] "For me as a Jew, it was a deeply moving thought that in a few hours, I would be face to face with the man who was primarily responsible for the destruction of several million people," Masur later said.[3] Himmler told Masur, "I want to bury the hatchet between us and the Jews. If I had had my own way, many things would have been done differently..." .[3]

As a result of this meeting and subsequent negotiations with the head of the Swedish Red Cross, Folke Bernadotte, the WJC was given custody of about 7,000 women from the women's Ravensbrück concentration camp. Approximately half (45%) 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 of imprisonment in various camps. His view was that return to their home countries was impossible for these women and that emigration to Israel was the only option open to these women in order for them to regain their dignity.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mitteilungsblatt der Gesellschaft Für Friedrichstädter Stadtgeschichte (1980), vol. 17, p.270/272 Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine (in German)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ a b Wallace, Max (19 August 2017). "When Himmler tried to 'bury the hatchet between us and the Jews'". Retrieved 2017-12-04 – via Toronto Star.
  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