Erna de Vries | I wanted to see the sun again
You are here | Home | Curriculum Vitae| Childhood and youth in Kaiserslautern

Curriculum Vitae

by Alexandra Hebbelmann

Though there were countless numbers of people being maligned, persecuted and deported under the National Socialist rule, Erna de Vries’ story is yet a special one: She is one of the few women who have witnessed the Death Block 25 in Auschwitz-Birkenau and survived. This touching story is what we would like to present at the next few pages.

interner Link Childhood and youth in Kaiserslautern
interner Link Night of Broken Glass
interner Link Apprenticeship in Cologne
interner Link Deportation and detention in Auschwitz-Birkenau
interner Link Detention in Ravensbrueck and liberation
interner Link Post-War-Period in Cologne and Lathen

Childhood and youth in Kaiserslautern

October 1923 – November 1938

Jeanette und Jacob Korn (Privatbesitz, 192x)

Jakob and Jeanette Korn, Erna de Vries’ parents.(Picture: Private property, about 192x)

Born on October 21st, 1923, Erna de Vries is the only child of her father Jakob Korn and his wife Jeanette Löwenstein. The family does not have any financial worries so that Erna Korn has a free and happy childhood. After her father’s death in 1931 her mother continues the family’s haulage company on her own until, due to discrimination, she is forced to abandon the company two years after Hitler’s rise to power.

The same year twelve-year-old Erna attends the local lyceum run by Franciscan nuns. For two years she is very happy there until she has to leave the school in 1937 – her mother thinks it is wiser to save the school fees so that in case of emergency the family will be able to live on their savings. Still required to attend school, 14-year-old Erna has to join a class especially for Jewish students at the general school in Kaiserslautern where she is taught together with 28 other students of all ages.

Being forced to give up her dream of being a doctor, the only possibility for Erna to receive any apprenticeship after she has left school in the spring of 1938 is to start work at a Jewish friend family’s stitching company – Jeanette Korn has refused her relatives’ suggestion to emigrate as she does not want to leave her mother behind.

forward »

Gallery | Childhood and youth in Kaiserslautern (6 pictures)
Jeanette Korn (Foto: Privatbesitz, 1938) Institut der Franziskanerinnen (Foto: Projekt Zeitlupe, 2006) Klassenfoto vom Institut der Franziskanerinnen (Foto: Privatbesitz, 1936)