The three Herzberg sisters, Gisela, Hilde and Ruth, and their brother Sally, were born in Breslau, Germany. Gisela and Ruth got married on the same day. Gisela married Phillip Kozower, a lawyer and one of the leaders of the Berlin Jewish community, and Ruth married Erich Zwilsky. Ruth is the only sibling who survived.
Ruth, Erich and their son Klaus (b. 1932) remained in Germany thanks to Erich’s position as pharmacist in the city’s Jewish hospital. Ruth was a forced laborer at the Siemens factory. The hospital continued to function under Nazi supervision until the end of the war, treating Jews married to non-Jews and their children. In 1945, immediately after the war, Klaus celebrated his Bar Mitzva in the Jewish hospital in Berlin. In 1947, the family immigrated to the United States.
Phillip was a prominent figure in the Reichsvereinigung (Reich Association of Jews in Germany). On 27 January 1943, Gisela, Phillip and their children, Eva (b. 1932), Alice (b. 1934) and Uri (b. 1942) were arrested, taken to a Sammellager (temporary holding camp where Jews awaiting deportation were kept) and deported to Theresienstadt. Paul Epstein and Rabbi Leo Baeck, both leading figures in the Reichsvereinigung, were on the same transport.
In Theresienstadt, Phillip was director of the post office, and conducted an extensive correspondence with family members who had remained in Berlin. Thanks to his privileged status, his family lived together in a room, a luxury not permitted to most of the other ghetto inhabitants. At the room’s center stood a table, chairs, and an oven, the most important piece of furniture. Gisela developed a reputation as a “magician”, who was able to conjure up decent meals out of scraps. From Berlin, Ruth would send her sister flour, dried vegetables, tomato paste, oats, potatoes and other basic ingredients that were still obtainable until early 1944.
On 12 October 1944, the Kozower family was deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. They all perished.
Sally Herzberg (b. 1911), who was a doctor at the Jewish hospital in Berlin, was deported to Theresienstadt in May of 1943. His girlfriend, Golly Grünberg, decided to join him despite her protected status as the daughter of a mixed marriage. They met up with the Kozowers in Theresienstadt. In the fall of 1944, Rabbi Leo Baeck officiated at Sally and Golly’s wedding in the ghetto. Sally was deported to Auschwitz. This time too, Golly chose to accompany her husband, even though she was not on the deportation list. Sally was murdered, and Golly survived.
Hilde Burstein (née Herzberg, b. 1903), her husband Sally, a doctor, and their children, Inge (b. 1928) and Herbert (b. 1931), who lived in the port city of Memel (Klaipeda), were deported to the Kovno ghetto. All four perished, in all likelihood in 1944.