Tributes paid to Shoah survivor Henry Wermuth, who hatched plot to kill Hitler

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Tributes paid to Shoah survivor Henry Wermuth, who hatched plot to kill Hitler

Frankfurt-born Holocaust educator and writer survived camps including Auschwitz, Krakow-Plaszow and Mauthhausen, before settling in Britain after the war

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Henry Wermuth
Henry Wermuth

Tributes have been paid to Holocaust survivor Henry Wermuth who has died aged 97.

The German-born Shoah educator and writer was a prisoner in numerous camps, including Auschwitz, Krakow-Plaszow and Mauthhausen.

In 1995, he was awarded the Johanna Kirchner Medal by the City of Frankfurt for his attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1942. After hearing rumours that Hitler was due to pass on a train, he piled stones and thick lengths of wood on the track in a bid to derail it and kill the dictator.

After liberation, he came to the UK and successfully applied to stay longer than an initial two years permitted by Britain. He became a successful businessman, married, had two children and now has three grandchildren.

Henry wrote a book about his experiences during the Holocaust called ‘Breathe Deeply My Son’, which was released as a film in 2017.

Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Karen Pollock said Wermuth, “dedicated the latter part of his life to ensuring that young people understood the horrors of the Holocaust. Over decades, he spoke to thousands of young people until poor health prevented him from doing so.”

Henry Wermuth before the war (HMDT)

His testimony was truly harrowing, but full of the bravery and courage that Henry exhibited in his personality – including the attempt to derail a train that Hitler was travelling on. His impact on this country will not be forgotten and we will do all we can to ensure his story and legacy continues to be shared across the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and in particular to his daughter Ilana, who dedicated so much of her time accompanying him as he shared his testimony.”

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said: “‘We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of Henry Wermuth. With his family, he was dedicated to sharing his testimony, both of the loss and trauma he experienced during the Holocaust and his remarkable attempt to assassinate Hitler, for which he received the Johanna Kirchner Medal by the City of Frankfurt. We worked with Henry to write and share his story, and he attended our events such as a reception we held in parliament where he shared his experiences with MPs and peers. He will be greatly missed.’ – Olivia Marks-Woldman


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