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Swiss Holocaust survivor and member of ‘Kasztner group’ dies

ladislaus löb
Gamaraal Foundation

Ladislaus Löb, a Romanian-born Holocaust survivor who fled to Switzerland before leading a career as a professor, author and translator, has died aged 88.

Löb passed away on October 2, according to Anita Winter of the Gamaraal Foundation, a Swiss support group for Holocaust survivors.

Born in Cluj in Transylvania in 1933, LöbExternal link was one of 18,000 Jews imprisoned in that city’s ghetto in 1944, before he and his father managed to escape to Budapest.

There they became part of the so-called “Kasztner group” of around 1,600 Jews who were given safe passage out of Hungary thanks to a deal between Nazi official Adolf Eichmann and Zionist leader Rudolf Kasztner.

As a result, Löb and his father transited through the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany before arriving as refugees in St Gallen in eastern Switzerland in December 1944, as Löb outlines in this personal accountExternal link.

In a 2019 interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper, Löb said: “I had an unbelievable amount of luck in my life, but that I managed to live longer than the age of 12, I can only thank one man, Rezsö Kasztner”.

In 1957 Kasztner was murdered by Jewish extremists in Israel who accused him of collaboration.

After studying in Zurich, Löb worked as a teacher and journalist before moving to Brighton in Britain in 1963, where he went on to become a professor of German language and literature at the University of Sussex.

He published various books throughout his career, including a memoir, a book about Kasztner, and translations of well-known authors such as Friedrich Nietzsche.

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