Death and Love in the Holocaust

Death and Love in the Holocaust

The Story of Sonja and Kurt Messerschmidt

Steve Hochstadt


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Kurt and Sonja Messerschmidt were among the last Jews deported from Nazi Berlin. They were among a handful of couples who were married in Theresienstadt, and are possibly the only pair who lived to describe their wedding. They survived Auschwitz, and unimaginable slave labor in other camps. Kurt was one of two survivors of a group of death marchers in southern Germany. They found each other again after liberation, and eventually emigrated to the United States. As told to Steve Hochstadt as part of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine's project to record and preserve individual experiences of Holocaust survivors, this book captures Kurt’s and Sonja’s separate but always intertwined stories. Their accounts, as improbable as they are moving, tell from both sides how a loving relationship formed in persecution became an element of survival in the Holocaust.


Steve Hochstadt:
Steve Hochstadt taught history at Illinois College 2006-2016, after teaching at Bates College in Maine for 27 years. His grandparents escaped from Vienna to Shanghai in 1939, and his research focuses on the Holocaust. His book Exodus to Shanghai: Stories of Escape from the Third Reich, based on interviews with former refugees, is being translated into Chinese.