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Max Mannheimer (1920 - 2016)

Andreas Gerbert / dpa via AP

Max Mannheimer (1920 - 2016)

Max Mannheimer, a Holocaust survivor, author, and painter, died Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Munich, Germany, according to multiple news sources. He was 96.

Mannheimer was born Feb. 6, 1920, in what is now the Czech Republic. His wife, mother, father, two sisters, and three brothers all perished in death camps, most of them in Auschwitz. He survived Auschwitz and a death march to Dachau. He and a younger brother, Edgar, were the only survivors from his family.

After the liberation of the camp, he worked for a Jewish welfare agency and a newspaper. He began painting in 1954, under the name ben jakov, as a way of coping with his nightmares and experience as a survivor. He had his first solo exhibition in 1975.

He began giving lectures about the Holocaust after experiencing a nervous breakdown when he saw a swastika during a trip to the United States in 1986. He gave tours of Dachau and became the head of the community of former Dachau prisoners.

In 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Dachau at his invitation. Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that Merkel was mourning her death and tweeted, “we owe him gratitude.”

He received many honors, including the German cross of merit and France’s Legion d’honneur for his work as a Holocaust educator. His message to young Germans was: “You aren’t responsible for what happened. But you are responsible that it won’t happen again.”

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