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Pikesville Holocaust Survivor Dies Before Testifying on Wartime Reparations

Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz of Pikesville shared his World War II experiences by speaking to students and sharing his memories in a film and book.

Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz of Pikesville speaking to school students three years ago. File|Patch
Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz of Pikesville speaking to school students three years ago. File|Patch

A Maryland Holocaust survivor who planned to testify Monday on a bill tied to reparations is getting a hearing, but without testimony expected from Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz, who died over the weekend.

Sol Levinson & Bros. funeral home says Leo Bretholz, 93, of Pikesville died Saturday. Friend and fellow Holocaust survivor Rosette Goldstein is set to speak in Bretholz’ memory, reports WJZ TV.

The measure before the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday would require companies involved in transporting victims to concentration camps during World War II to pay reparations to bid for public-private partnership projects. 

Keolis America, which is majority-owned by the French rail company SNCF, is one of four bidders competing for a contract to build Maryland’s Purple Line light rail. Historians say SNCF transported about 76,000 Jews and other prisoners to concentration camps.

Bretholz, originally from Austria, spent nearly seven years hiding and fleeing the Nazis across Europe, before immigrating to Baltimore and settling in Pikesville. He has told his story publicly thousands of times, according to an earlier Patch story.

His World War II experiences have been shared in the film “See You Again, Soon,” and he wrote a book about his life. Bretholz was on a train taking Jews to be killed at Auschwitz in 1942 when he was able to escape and spent the rest of the war working in the French Underground.

MocoLoco March 10, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Enough is enough. Stop shaking down companies that have nothing to do with the original companies. If I have ancestors who owned slaves, do I owe reparations because my DNA links me? No one at the current SNCF had anything to do with the Holocaust. Let them bid, and stop the shake-down.
Roger March 11, 2014 at 05:41 AM
Tea party 101: Deny compassion, history and science. Vilify others. Fear diversity and change. A person that can not change their mind can't change anything. Progress is not a four letter word.
Carleton MacDonald March 11, 2014 at 08:41 AM
You have to remember that the Nazis overran France, took over everything, and essentially said: "Your railroad now belongs to us. You will run trains where we tell you to and when we tell you to. If you decide to be a hero, and refuse, you will be taken out back and shot. We will then tell the next person to do the same, and if he refuses, he will be taken out back and shot too. And we will keep doing this until we find someone who does what we tell him to, and we WILL find that someone. Understand?"
Skye Anderson March 11, 2014 at 09:13 AM
I heard Mr. Bretholz speak perhaps 15 years ago and I still rememberer how riveting he was. As a senior citizen then, he enthralled the junior high kids.

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