05/16/2022 News

Margot Heumann died

It is with great sadness that we learned that Margot Heumann passed away on May 11, 2022 in Arizona, USA.

Margot was born on February 17, 1928 in Hellenthal, Germany into a Jewish family. In 1942, the family was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto where they spent two years. She often talked about how she actually enjoyed her time in the ghetto and the sense of belonging to a community again after suffering discrimination in Germany for years. In Theresienstadt, she met a girl who would become her closest friend and confidante for the rest of her life. When the family was deported to Auschwitz, the girls stuck together and managed to get on the same transport to Germany. Margot’s family stayed behind and that was the last time she saw them. Margot was taken to Hamburg and was forced to work at the Veddel (Dessauer Ufer), Neugraben and Tiefstack satellite camps of Neuengamme. In 1945 she was taken to Bergen-Belsen where she was liberated on April 15, 1945.

Following the liberation, Margot went to Sweden for convalescence and was taken in by a teacher whom she lived with for a while. After over a year, she immigrated to the United States and joined her relatives in New York City who had fled Germany while it was still possible. She went back to school and worked for a big advertising company where she earned her pension. She also married and had two children, which was extremely important to her as a sole survivor of her family. Margot loved travelling and visited places all over the world. Leaving the cold NYC behind, she eventually moved to Arizona where she was very happy and enjoyed long morning walks with her beloved dog. Margot Heumann was one of only a few female concentration camp survivors who spoke openly about her homosexuality.

In 2019, she visited Neuengamme for the first time and gave an impressive interview about her life in front of several school classes. The following two years made it impossible for the Neuengamme Memorial to invite survivors to Hamburg due to the corona pandemic. We never got the chance to see Margot again but we are beyond grateful for meeting her and knowing her. She was a force of nature and will be missed. At this difficult time our thoughts are with those who were close to her.