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Lutz, the son of an accountant, was a six year-old schoolboy when the Nazis came to power in Germany. They immediately began persecuting Germany's Jews, making life extremely difficult for them. Mrs. Posener died in 1933, and Lutz's father took him to Brussels, Belgium, to escape the oppressive Nazi regime.
In June 1940, the Nazis invaded Belgium. Within a few months, anti-Jewish legislation was enacted, and Lutz and his father struggled to cope. Lutz, a fourteen year-old schoolboy, was forced to wear the yellow star. The people of Belgium tried to support their Jewish neighbors. Teachers told their students that the star was a mark of distinction. Shopkeepers sold stars in the Belgian national colors. At first, the streets were filled with non-Jewish Belgians also wearing Jewish stars. In June 1942, when Lutz turned sixteen, he was sent to a forced-labor camp.
In August 1942, the Germans began deporting foreign-born Jews to death camps in Poland. In November 1942, Lutz was put on a transport to Auschwitz. Some Jews were able to escape from these transports with the help of the Belgian population. In addition, thousands of Jewish children were taken into hiding.
Lutz managed to escape from the transport and make his way back to Belgium. Non-Jewish friends hid him, but he was caught in April 1943. Once again, he was put on a transport.
Seventeen year-old Lutz was sent to Auschwitz. There he was selected for forced labor and sent to Buna, one of Auschwitz's sub-camps. Conditions in Buna were horrendous. Camp inmates received little food and were worked to the point of exhaustion. Those unable to work were put to death in the gas chambers.
When the Soviet troops entered the camp in January 1945, they found the nearly-dead prisoners who had been left behind by the Germans in their hasty retreat. Eighteen year-old Lutz was among the survivors. He was one of the lucky few.