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My Hero Foiled Hitler--She Survived
Hedwig Schwarz, in Marienhospital, 1952,

Hedwig Schwarz, my great-aunt from Horb, Germany, in the beautiful Black Forest, was the lone survivor of deportation in her town.  At the old Jewish cemetery in Rexingen, one can find her gravestone set apart, topped with stones left by each respectful visitor who wishes to pay homage.

When the Jews were rounded up in Rexingen, in 1941, Hedwig was swept up as well.  Her husband Louis was taken to Theresienstadt, and did not survive.  Her daughter and her grandson were sent to Riga in Latvia (why?  Why send people so far away to kill them?)

In the photo of her, taken in Marienhospital, Stuttgart, we can see photos of the daughter and grandson, Freddie (Friederle), who was six years old when he was shot.

What makes Hedwig's lone survival all the more extraordinary, is that she was crippled before the Holocaust.  She couldn't walk.

Part of the reason she survived was luck--she fell off the transport wagon and the Nazis didn't stop to pick her up.   Someone else did pick her up, though--some nameless angels, who are also heroes.  They took her to the selfless nuns at Marienhospital, who cared for her until she died in 1952.  

The nameless ones are the Just, the ones who did not look out for themselves first, but for an elderly crippled Jew.  They are heroes, too.   We need more of their stories, to give us examples of how to behave in times of crisis.

Hitler wanted all the Jews to die.   Hedwig Schwarz defied him and lived to bear witness. 

8 Comment count
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Thanks for sharing this.

My heart is so heavy while reading this, I can barely type.

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Thanks for your responsiveness, Ryoma!

Look at all the good people involved in this story--the angels with no names--

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Heroes, all of them. Makes

Heroes, all of them. Makes me want to cry.

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There are so many stories that haven't yet been told--

It's our job as writers to listen and record before the stories die out--I found that elderly people in France wanted to tell their stories about the war. (At least some of them did. The ones who were collaborators did not want to talk).

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Thank you for this

It is so very important to tell these stories. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Leah Maines

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Thanks for your responsiveness, Leah!

I appreciate your listening!

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Freddie and his Grandmother Hedwig Schwarz and the Nameless Nuns

Belatedly, I am reading blogs tonight. I just read and agreed with Mary and Dorraine's choices of heroes a minute ago. Everyday heroes. Wonderful choices.

But your empahsis on justice and no-name heroes in the face of great evil is very important and very inspiring. Recognizing the need for heroes in times of crisis merits our attention and contemplation. I suspect the everyday heroes are likely to be the ones to become the namelss heroes who help the helpless, such as the ones who ignored danger and took a Jewish cripple
to the caring nuns.

This made me cry too, Ryoma. Thank you, Marilyn, for writing this memorable piece about Louis and Hedwig, their daughter, and Friederle.

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Your response is eloquent.

Sue, your response is heartening--beautifully written, too.

Thank you!