Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sonja Messerschmidt, 85, Married during the Holocaust


Producer Stephanie Houser with Kurt and Sonja Messerschmidt 11/08


I traveled back East and had the opportunity to meet Kurt and Sonja Messerschmidt almost two years ago. Kurt, age 95, is Henry Oertelt's older brother and a significant figure in our upcoming feature film, An Unbroken Chain. Sonja died Monday, October 25, 2010 at age 85. I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to meet her. She stayed with Henry and his family in Berlin prior to being sent to Theresenstadt, the notorious VIP camp where many artists, musicians, doctors etc. were sent. Henry suspected they were sent there due to his brother's influence as a brilliant linguist at the University of Berlin. Regardless, she and her husband actually married there in the camp before the brothers were sent to Auschwitz. Happily Sonja and Kurt reunited after the war and spent the majority of their 66 years together in Portland, Maine, where Kurt was a cantor and Sonja worked in fashion.

Sonja Messerschmidt was a positive, humorous person despite her experience as a prisoner in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

Click here for full obituary in the Portland Press Herald. "Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways."