9. Hanni Levy
By 1943, Hanni Weissenburg was living in Berlin and she was completely alone: her parents were dead, and her grandmother had been sent to Theresienstadt. She was forced into labor working in a textile factory for the Nazis when she lost part of her finger in a machine accident in February 1943. She went to the hospital, and when she returned, she witnessed what became known as the Fabrikaktion, the last attempt to empty Berlin of its Jewish population.
She saw all of the Jews forced into labor in her Berlin neighborhood being rounded up for transport to concentration camps. Hanni had many non-Jewish friends before the war, and she asked them for help. She had no identification papers, no food, and no money. One of her friends took her in and helped her change her appearance so that she could go into hiding. Hanni went to her uncle, who helped her obtain a fake ID, but he wouldn’t help her hide. She spent the next few weeks moving around to different places, staying anywhere that would give her shelter.
Hanni bounced around from place to place, staying for three months with a family called the Mosts, who she says treated her like a daughter. Eventually, Mr. Most had to go into hiding as well for evading his military service. Hanni used her new identity to indulge in things that she couldn’t do as a Jew in Berlin, like going to the movies.
She befriended a cashier named Viktoria Kolzer at the movie theater she frequented. Eventually, Hanni asked her for help in hiding. Kolzer took Hanni in, and the two women lived quietly together until the end of the war.
After the Nazi regime fell, Hanni struggled to retain her old identity because she had lived so long in hiding. In 1946, she left Berlin and moved to Paris, where she married. She approached the Yad Vashem in 1978 and had the Most family and Viktoria Kolzer recognized for their assistance to her during the war.
In November 2010, she had a plaque installed in front of the building where she and Kolzer lived in Berlin. As of an interview given in 2011, Hanni still visits the Kolzer family every year.