The beginning of the end of German Jewry


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7 September 1933

Certificate confirming Hans Wilk‘s imprisonment in the Oranienburg concentration camp

The businessman Hans Wilk (1909–1970) had been interned fifty days when this certificate confirming his imprisonment in the Oranienburg concentration camp was issued to him on 7 September 1933. Unlike most of the other prisoners in Oranienburg in the first few months of 1933, he had not been arrested because he was a member of a democratic or left-wing party. Rather, he had been accused of helping his brother, the communist Alfred Wilk, to escape to France.

The rabbi Max Abraham (1904–1977) was a prisoner in Oranienburg at the same time and in an account of his time in prison he describes how he met Hans Wilk in a detention cell called the "bunker:" "There were five of these cells in Oranienburg, each measuring one or two meters square, windowless, with stone walls, three small air holes and nothing on the stone floor except a thin layer of straw. I learned who my fellow prisoners were. The businessmen Wilk and Goldschmidt … were with me in bunker 5. They were put in the detention cell the day of their arrival."

We do not know how long Hans Wilk was forced to stay in the bunker. Until he left the Oranienburg concentration camp he was a member of the Judenkompanie, or "Jew Company," which was assigned only the hardest and worst kinds of labor.

But Hans Wilk‘s ordeal did not end on 7 September. In fact, he was not released, but deported to Papenburg in Lower Saxony and from there to one of the "Emsland camps" for political prisoners.

Michaela Roßberg

Categorie(s): captivity | merchants
Cerificate confirming Hans Wilk‘s imprisonment in the Oranienburg concentration camp, Oranienburg, 7 September 1933
Gift of Loni Wilk