Arno Lustiger

1924 (Bedzin, Upper Silesia) - 2012 (Frankfurt a.M.)


"After the war … I shut myself up in a cocoon so as not to be crushed by the memories, and so as to be able to live here."

Arno Lustiger was born in Będzin in the Upper Silesian region of Poland on 7 May 1924, the son of a wholesale dealer in machines. He became involved in the Zionist youth movement, and later in the socialist "Bündische Jugend", likewise a youth movement. After graduating from the Jewish grammar school he studied engineering illegally at the Berlin correspondence school.

After Będzin was ghettoized in 1943, Lustiger was interned in various labour camps and later deported to Blechhammer and Gross-Rosen. In February 1945 he was committed to the Little Camp in Buchenwald, and soon thereafter transferred to the Langenstein-Zwieberge subcamp. He fled from an evacuation march at the beginning of April 1945 and was rescued by the Americans.

After liberation he became an interpreter for the American army, and served from 1945 to 1948 as the editor of the newspaper Unterwegs in the displaced persons camp in Frankfurt-Zeilsheim. He supported the illegal Palestine emigration movement and worked for the "Zentrale Historische Kommission" for the documentation of Jewish life in the camps. At the end of the forties he founded a textile company in Frankfurt a. M. He was active in the international Zionist association. In 1984 he undertook extensive research to provide documentary evidence of his empirical knowledge of the extent of the Jews’ resistance against their annihilation. He was the editor and author of books and newspaper articles about Jewish resistance during the Spanish Civil War, in Nazi Germany, in Poland and the Soviet Union.

Arno Lustiger died in Frankfurt a. M. on 15 May 2012.