Until the German annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938, Walter Loebner was a surgeon in Marienbad. He never hid his anti-fascist views, and was therefore arrested in April 1939 before war broke out. He was imprisoned in Prague, and later sent to the Sachsenhausen camp near Berlin. In October 1942, he was transferred to Auschwitz. At first, he was assigned to forced labor, but from April 1943 he started working as a prisoner-doctor in the hospital block and in the camps annexed to the main camp at Auschwitz.
On January 18th, 1945, he was sent along with the rest of the prisoners of Auschwitz-Birkenau, on the “Death March”. The march lasted for 3 weeks, until they arrived at the Gross-Rosen camp in west Poland. After four days, they were taken by train to the Dora-Mittelbau camp in Germany, and in April, he was sent to the labor camp in Oranienburg, close to Berlin. On April 21st Walter escaped and stayed in the forest for about a week, until he was liberated by the Red Army.
After the liberation he returned to practicing medicine, and for a short time was director of the hospital in Kremen, near Oranienburg. In July 1945, he went back to Prague where he met his future wife, Lily, whom he had known before the war. In 1948, they immigrated to Israel with their daughters Aya and Dana.
Yad Vashem Collection
Gift of Walter and Lily Loebner, Haifa