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Georg, the son of Fritz and Alice (Oppenheimer)Cohen, was born in Breslau, Germany. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, they enacted harsh, antisemitic laws.
The Jews of Germany were previously well-integrated into German society and culture. They were highly assimilated and were employed in all professions.
Georg and his family moved to Naarden, Holland, a town with a small Jewish community. Here they hoped to make a new life. The Jews of Holland were fully accepted by their neighbors as citizens, and were well-integrated into Dutch society. Georg was a thirteen year-old schoolboy when the Germans occupied the country.
During the occupation, the Germans enacted harsh anti-Jewish measures. Jewish businesses and bank accounts were confiscated, and Jews were barred from most professions. Jewish children were prevented from attending public schools. When the Nazis began perpetrating acts of violence against the Jews, the Dutch people were outraged. Large-scale strikes were organized in protest, but they were soon crushed by the Germans. The Nazis began massive round ups of Jews in 1942, sending them to concentration camps. By the end of 1942, 38,500 Jews had been deported from Holland to the death camps in Poland. Dutch Christians made heroic efforts to save thousands of Jews by hiding them, but most were caught by the Nazis.
Georg and his family were arrested and deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. The ghetto was infested with typhus-carrying vermin. Thousands died of disease, starvation, and the brutality of the guards. Others were sent to death camps where they were murdered.