Seventy-four years after Arthur Rauner was murdered in Auschwitz, offspring travel from Israel to attend emotional ceremony commemorating him.
The town of Hargesheim, population 3,000, is about an hour’s drive from Frankfurt. The Rauner family’s roots there go back about 120 years, when Michael Rauner settled in town after fighting against the French in the German army. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery that is still preserved in the village.
Arthur Rauner, Michael’s son, continued living with his wife Augusta in the family home. Arthur opened a small factory that produced shoe polish. When the Nazis came to power, the couple’s four children decided to escape Germany and came to Israel.
“Hugo, my father, escaped right after Kristallnacht, in 1938,” said Osnat Lester, Arthur and Augusta’s granddaughter. “He told his parents he would pick them up to go to Israel and asked them to wait for him beneath the town clock on a certain day, but when he arrived, the neighbors told him that the Nazis already took them.”