Fredy Hirsch became a hero in World War II

He gave hope to thousands of Jewish children and their families in a hopeless time.

The German-Jewish athlete Fredy Hirsch became a hero in World War II.

On February 11, 1916, he was born as Alfred Hirsch in Aachen, the son of a butcher and food wholesaler. At the age of 17, in 1933, he headed the Jewish Scout Association in Düsseldorf and began his lifelong commitment to children and young people. Unlike his brother and mother, he did not want to leave Germany and Europe and thus did not want to flee from the Nazis.

Fredy Hirsch moved from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt am Main in 1934 and from there in November 1935 into exile in Czechoslovakia. There he lived in Prague, Brno and Ostrava (Moravia). In Brno he worked as a rhythm teacher, where he also met his partner, the medical student Jan Mautner.

On November 24, 1941, 324 Jewish men were deported to Theresienstadt to be used by the SS in the expansion of the ghetto. In addition, 1000 men came to Theresienstadt as a second construction team. Hirsch belonged to a 24-strong “staff” that had to build the organizational structure of the ghetto. As part of the strictly monitored self-government of the Jewish community, Hirsch got involved with the captured Jewish children. He organized sports and cultural events.

Just a few meters away from the gas chambers, a world arose in which Hirsch wanted to keep the horror away from his protégés. But in March 1944 it was rumored that everyone who came to Auschwitz on his transport should be gassed, including the children. The families thought of resistance and chose Fredy Hirsch as their leader. But before there could be an uprising, he died. To this day it is unclear whether it was murder or suicide.

On February 11th, the German-Jewish athlete would have been 105 years old and will therefore be honored by Google with a doodle.

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