As a Holocaust survivor, Max Lauenburger was involved in remembrance work throughout his life and enlightened the younger generation of Sinti and Roma as a contemporary witness, in particular about the persecution of the minority during National Socialism. For many years, he has accompanied the delegations of the Central Council to the international commemoration ceremony in Auschwitz-Birkenau on August 2. Several times, he was available as a discussion partner for young people at the International Youth Meeting Center Auschwitz.
Born on 24 November 1925 in Blumberg in Brandenburg, Max Lauenburger had to experience exclusion and discrimination at a young age. After his father was imprisoned by the Gestapo in the Dachau concentration camp, his mother fled to Upper Silesia with the then 13-year-old Max Lauenburger and his nine siblings in 1938. There, the family was discovered and Max Lauenburger and his younger siblings were sent to an orphanage in Schwarnewanz near Oppeln. After his release at the age of 14 years, he was obliged to do forced labor in agriculture. Arrested in Dresden in February 1943, he and other members of his family were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in March of the same year. In the night from August 2 to 3, 1944, about 4,300 Sinti and Roma were murdered in the gas chambers, including his mother and seven of his siblings. Max Lauenburger has survived because he was classified as “fit for work” after selections by the SS and has been transferred to Buchenwald in April 1944 and shortly afterwards to Mittelbau-Dora. In May 1945 he was liberated by British troops in Bergen-Belsen. 28 June 2020, Max Lauenburger died at the age of 95 in Ingolstadt.
Testimonies of Holocaust survivors
Interview with FAZ
Holocaust survivor, member of the French resistance, human rights activist
Holocaust survivor and longstanding deputy chairman of the Association of German Sinti and Roma in Bavaria