New York, NY, October 11, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) posthumously honored Horst Lantzsch for his courage and bravery in defying the Nazis to save his Jewish friend from a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
The ADL Courage to Care Award, which honors rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust era, was presented to Lantzsch's daughter, Ursula E. Andreas, during a ceremony at the League's Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.
"The Talmud teaches that 'whoever saves one life, saves the world,'" said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor who was saved by his Polish Catholic nanny, in presenting the award. "In those dark and fearful days, Horst Lantzsch made a fateful decision to save one life, and that person in turn effectively changed his life and the lives of their respective families. Horst had more than enough reason to be silent, but instead risked everything, acting with courage and conscience to save a friend from the Nazi slaughter. He deserves our recognition and eternal thanks."
Lantzsch was born in 1909 in Alsace, a province that changed hands between France and Germany for many generations. He was fascinated with cars and although his father wanted him to be a lawyer, he bought a car dealership in Chemnitz, Germany. His good friend, a Jewish man named Freddi Ascher, owned a shoe store in a nearby city.
The day after Kristallnacht in November 1938, Ascher's store was destroyed and he was sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Lantzsch tried to secure Ascher's release, but had little success. By chance, Lantzsch met a high ranking SS official whom he convinced to arrange the release of his friend. Two weeks later, Ascher was released and told to report to the Gestapo office in Chemnitz.
After several difficult days, Lantzsch persuaded Ascher to flee to Belgium. Lantzsch accompanied Ascher to the Belgian border but due to problems with the travel documents, he was not able to get his friend out of Germany. As luck would have it, Lantzsch met a Belgian lawyer from a Brussels refugee-assistance group who interceded, allowing Ascher to enter Belgium.
"Every day my father tried in every possible way to help his friend," said Ursula E. Andreas, who accepted the award on behalf of her late father. "I feel very blessed to have had such a courageous dad who had a vision for his family to live in the land of the free. My grandfather had instilled in him the importance of freedom."
Ascher made his way from Belgium to the United States and eventually took a job selling used cars. After the war, Ascher brought Horst Lantzsch and his wife and daughter to the United States where they settled in Fairfax, Virginia, and also sold used cars. Lantzsch became successful and later opened several car dealerships including Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Freddi Ascher credited Horst Lantzsch with saving his life in Germany and helping him begin a new life in the United States. Lantzsch credited Ascher with changing his life and helping him to become an American success story.
In 1987, ADL created a unique award to honor rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust era. The ADL Courage to Care Award is a plaque with bas-reliefs depicting the backdrop of the rescuers' exceptional deeds – the Nazis' persecution, deportation and murder of millions of Jews. The Courage to Care program is sponsored by Eileen Ludwig Greenland.
Past recipients of the ADL Courage to Care Award include: Irene Gut Opdyke, Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, Eduardo Propper de Callejón, Khaled Abdelwahhab, Ernst Leitz II, Mefail and Njazi Bicaku, Hiram Bingham IV, Sir Nicholas Winton, Konstantin Koslovsky, Jan and Miep Gies, Aristides De Sousa Mendes, Jan Karski, Selahattin Ulkumen, Chiune Sugihara, the French town of Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon, Emilie and Oskar Schindler, The Partisans of Riccione, Italy and Johanna Vos.