„Victory over Nazism“

Bronia Sonnenschein – Eine Wienerin in Kanada

Titelseite von Bronias Buch

Mit Bronia Sonnenschein bin ich 1995 nach einem Besuch im Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC in Kontakt gekommen. Ich hatte dort in das Register der Holocaust-Überlebenden die Nachnamen aller jüdischen Laaer Familien eingegeben – jedem „Treffer“ ließ ich durch das Museum einen Brief zukommen. Ein paar Leute antworteten, und obwohl niemand davon mit Laa zu tun hatte, bin ich für diesen „Zufall“ dankbar, denn es entwickelten sich so einige besondere Briefkontakte.

Bronia hat ihre Lebensgeschichte in Buchform herausgebracht. Das Buch hat vier Teile, die wohl auch die sehr unterschiedlichen Phasen in ihrem Leben widerspiegeln:

Prologue A happy life in Vienna
Part 1 Years of Horror
Part 2 Rebuilding a Life
Part 3 Years of Teaching
Epilogue A Full Life in Vancouver

Im letzten Abschnitt, auf den Seiten 118 und 119, findet sich ihr Antwortschreiben nach meiner Kontaktanfrage durch das Holocaust Memorial Museum:


May 22, 1995

Dear Magdalena,

Life, it seems, is full of surprises. Your letter forwarded to me by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, sure was a surprise.

Since I din’t know how much or how little information you have about me, you definitely know that I lived in Vienna and was forced to leave the city I loved so much together with my parents and sister when Hitler annexed Austria to Germany.

On May 8, 1995 I commemorated my 50th anniversary of liberation, a miracle in itself.

Sonnenschein was my late husband’s name and as far as I know he had no relatives living in Austria. My late husband was born in „Maerisch Ostrau“ (I don’t know if it still known by this name) and educated in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Your research into a vanished Jewish community is indeed remarkable. There are, unfortunately, people that deny the Holocaust ever happened. Hate-mongers, they were not there, they did not witness torture and destruction. So I am really happy to know that there are young people like you who are trying to find the truth. What is so remarkable for me is that although quite a few young German students approached when I shared my experiences about those frightful years in the death-camps telling me that they are ashamed what their people did. But never once did a young Austrian student come up to me.

I used to love Vienna, so did all my family, but I have lost confidence in Austrians, I hope you will understand. They have hurt us too deeply.

I really welcomed your letter and interest in trying to locate and bring families together. You actually give me hope in people like yourself, the third generation after the war.

I would like to hear from you again. In the meantime I wish you the best and luck in your studies. Maybe your travels will take you once to Vancouver. I would have loved to meet you. You seem to have a lot of courage and determination.

So let’s just say „auf Wiedersehen.“

Sincerest regards,

Bronia Sonnenschein


Ich bin froh und dankbar, dass Bronia so damals in mein Leben getreten ist. Wien, ihre Heimatstadt, hat so viel an ihr verloren.

Bronias Grabstein

Wenn Sie mehr über ihr Leben erfahren wollen, können Sie einen Artikel über eine sie in der Nacht der Shoa rettende Begebenheit lesen.

Einblick in Bronias Jugend anhand ihres Buches