Rudi Dingfelder, in Gouda, Holland, ca.1946.

The Dingfelder family of Plauen, Germany, owned a kosher meat shop in the 1920s and '30s. When Nazi anti-Jewish measures intensified, eldest son Martin emigrated to America. In 1939 the rest of the family-father Leopold, mother Johanna, and 15-year-old Rudi-boarded the St. Louis for Cuba. With the ship's forced return, the Dingfelders eventually settled in Gouda, Netherlands.
Leopold, Johanna, and Martin Dingfelder in front of the meat shop (delicatessen) the family operated in Plauen, Germany. Date unknown.
In 1942, the Nazis began deporting Jews from western Europe, including the Netherlands, to the East. Among the victims were Leopold and Johanna Dingfelder, who perished at Auschwitz after their arrest in October 1942. Rudi, arrested by the Gestapo on October 9, was taken to the Westerbork transit camp. Selected for forced labor, he worked in the Dornier aircraft factory in Holland before being transported to the Vught concentration camp and back to Westerbork. He was deported to Auschwitz in March 1944 and assigned to forced labor at the Siemens-Schuckert factory.

Auschwitz prisoner registration form for Rudi Dingfelder. 1944. On his arrival at Auschwitz, Rudi was selected for forced labor. Shipped to Bobrek, one of many Auschwitz subcamps established to aid the German war effort, he worked at the Siemens-Schuckert factory (photo, right) producing parts for the German air force.
In January 1945, as the Red Army advanced, the SS evacuated the Auschwitz prisoners to Germany. Rudi arrived at Buchenwald after a brutal two-week journey. He was sent to the Siemens factory outside Berlin, but the Soviet advance forced another evacuation. Soon thereafter, the inmates were sent on a "death march" by the SS guards. Near Schwerin, Rudi and four other prisoners attempted to escape; three were shot and one died two days later. Rudi was found by Allied troops and subsequently returned to Gouda. In 1946, he emigrated to the United States.


Siemens-Schuckert factory

Red Cross certificate from Westerbork that identifies many of the camps where Rudi was imprisoned. July 31,1946. Shortly after receiving this document, Rudi Dingfelder emigrated to the United States.



USHMM Home Page