Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen

Walk on the Kurfürstendamm

At the end of June 1945, the Dutchman Arnold Blitz (right) and his friend Tony Mast are photographed in their prisoner clothing on Kurfürstendamm during an excursion to Berlin.

Arnold Blitz had gone into hiding in September 1942, when the security police also carried out systematic raids on Jews in Rotterdam. While fleeing to Switzerland, Blitz, who was then 20 years old and equipped with a Belgian identity card with the name Remi de Caluwe, was arrested in Belfort, Belgium, and taken into protective custody. Via detention centres in Dijon and Compiègne he was transferred to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp at the beginning of January 1943. He succeeded in concealing his Jewish identity and survived the concentration camp as a Belgian citizen.

After liberation in April 1945, an Oranienburger woman gave him a camera as a gift. Arnold Blitz used it to photograph life in the liberated camp, especially at the infirmary baracks, where he was employed as a male nurse. Back in the Netherlands he learned that his parents had not survived. They had been arrested in Rotterdam in autumn 1942 and had already been murdered in Auschwitz in November 1942.

In a report on concentration camp imprisonment written in 1995, Arnold Blitz wrote: "It was this disgusting human dignity, which we had to put up with day in, day out, throughout the camp, that hurt us much more deeply than hunger or deprivation of freedom ... and it still hurts to this day."