Oldest Austrian Holocaust survivor dies at 106

Marko Feingold, who survived Auschwitz, dies in Salzburg after lung infection.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff and AFP ,

Holocaust survivor
Holocaust survivor
Flash 90

The oldest Austrian Holocaust survivor, who lived through four concentration camps, has died at the age of 106, Vienna's Jewish Community organization (IKG) said Friday.

Marko Feingold, who survived Auschwitz, in Nazi-occupied Poland and three German concentration camps, died in the city of Salzburg on Thursday after a lung infection, Austrian news agency APA reported.

Despite his advanced age, Feingold had remained active in speaking out against the Holocaust, taking part in numerous conferences and events for schoolchildren.

Born on May 28, 1913, in the Austro-Hungarian empire in what is now Slovakia, Feingold was arrested in Prague and deported to Auschwitz in 1940.

"They said I had three months to live. And in fact after two and a half months I was about to succumb to exhaustion when I managed to get transferred to the Neuengamme camp," he told AFP in an interview last year.

From there, Feingold -- or inmate 11,996 -- was taken to Dachau and then on to Buchenwald, where he survived as a construction worker.

Having lost his father and siblings in the camps, he was freed from Buchenwald when it was liberated by American forces in May 1945.

But he could not go back to Vienna as his group of survivors was prevented from travelling through the Soviet occupation zone which surrounded the city.

"A Russian soldier told us that they had orders not to let us pass. The new (social democratic) chancellor Karl Renner had said: 'We won't take back the Jews'," Feingold said.

Feingold then decided to go to Salzburg near the German border, which was in the American occupation zone. There he founded a network which helped 100,000 Jews to emigrate to Britain-administered Palestine.

He himself refused to leave Austria despite the difficulties in the face of the country's deep-rooted anti-Semitism.

After the war Austria took refuge in an official narrative which portrayed the country as a "victim" of the Third Reich and avoided the process of debating complicity in Nazi crimes, as happened in Germany, until well into the 1990s.

Feingold started a clothes shop in Salzburg, which quickly became successful.

He told AFP last year that once attitudes changed, he was "literally covered in honors", including being received last year by then chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his then deputy Heinz-Christian Strache from the far-right.

News of Feingold’s death came as Austria's parliament voted to grant citizenship to the descendants of Nazi victims, who fled the country under Hitler's Third Reich.

Under the new law, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who fled the Nazis can apply for citizenship. Until now only Holocaust survivors themselves could obtain Austrian nationality.

Vienna's Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch welcomed "a decision that puts Austria in line with its historic responsibility".

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)