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Oldest known Nazi concentration camp survivor dies at 107

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:17 EDT
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People stand at the gates of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp outside Weimar, Germany, April 15, 2012. (AFP)
 
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The oldest known male survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, Austrian-born Leopold Engleitner, has died at the age of 107, Austrian media reported Thursday.

Engleitner passed away on April 21 but his death was only announced now in accordance with his wishes, said the daily Salzburger Nachrichten.

A Jehovah’s witness and conscientious objector who refused to serve in the Wehrmacht, the Austrian — born on July 23, 1905 in Strobl near Salzburg — was deported by the Nazis in 1939 and survived the concentration camps of Buchenwald, Niederhagen and Ravensbrueck before he was released in 1943 to carry out forced labour.

He weighed just 28 kilogrammes (62 pounds) upon his release.

Called up again in 1945, he escaped and managed to hide in the mountains.

After the war, he led a discrete life until a biography by Bernhard Rammerstorfer in 1999, “Unbroken Will”, turned him into a much sought-after speaker.

Engleitner travelled through Europe, Russia and the United States in the following years, giving lectures, including at the Los Angeles Simon Wiesenthal Center, and telling his story in schools and universities.

A recent short film about his life entitled “Ladder in the Lion’s Den” has won awards at film festivals in the US and Puerto Rico.

The world’s oldest concentration camp survivor is believed to be Alice Herz-Sommer, born in 1903.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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