Date of Birth: 1929
Heinz Wartski grew up in Danzig with his parents and two siblings. In the 1930’s, the Nazis gained control of the Danzig government and systematically targeted the Jewish people. “We were a minority in every nation in which we lived, and we were therefore easy targets for any government in need of scapegoats.”
In 1938, Heinz’s father was arrested for conducting business with Aryans and was sentenced to six months of hard labor at the Stutthof concentration camp. This “experience persuaded him that the Nazis would, eventually, kill as many Jews as they can lay their hands on, and that we needed to get out.”
In 1939, Heinz and his family escaped to Italy and later joined the partisan resistance in the Appenine Mountains. His family survived until liberation in 1945. “This was the first time that I did not need to hide or run for my life…no one needed to arrest me, kill me, or expedite me to a concentration camp…My mission to stay alive was done.”
Heinz and his family immigrated to the United States in 1949. He married Hella Wartski, a fellow Holocaust survivor, and had two children. Heinz currently resides in Naples, Florida and volunteers with the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida to share his story.