The Story of Anton Hundsdorfer & Sonja Hundsdorfer
Anton Hundsdorfer 1902 – 1982 & Sonja Hundsdorfer Born, 1927
Ernie Hunter tells the story of his father Anton Hundsdorfer, his half-sister Sonja, and his non-Jewish German family. They were victims of Nazi persecution because they were Communists and political opponents of Hitler. The story describes how Germans who opposed Hitler suffered terror, imprisonment, interrogation, torture, forced labour and murder.
Anton, born in 1902 in Bavaria, Germany, was brought up in his stepfather’s home in Bohdasice in the German-speaking part of what became Czechoslovakia. Anton did not get on with his stepfather and, in 1918, ran away.
Anton arrived in Munich after Germany had lost World War One and when a short-lived Communist Bavarian Republic was in the process of being formed. The ideals of communism and democracy – in which everybody had a voice and equal rights – made a lifelong impression on Anton.
Anton married Klara Holy, and they had a daughter, Sonja. Following Klara’s tragic early death in 1928, Anton and Sonja lived with Klara’s parents. Anton was involved in distributing anti-Nazi leaflets throughout Bavaria, thereby putting him on a Nazi enemy list.
When Hitler took control of Germany in 1933 Anton, as a Communist and political opponent, had to flee for his life. Leaving his daughter behind, he reached the UK as a refugee in 1939. Sonja was brought up in Germany as an orphan. Meanwhile her uncles were subject to imprisonment, torture and murder in Dachau Concentration Camp. Miraculously, within days of the end of World War Two in Europe, Anton managed to make contact with his daughter.
This story draws out the importance of free speech and democracy in preventing persecution and genocide.
Presented by Ernie Hunter
Ernie Hunter, a retired accountant and management consultant, formerly ran his own Europe-wide consultancy. He has been involved in Holocaust education for over 12 years, speaking in schools, places of worship, universities and civic organisations. Pre-Covid, Ernie returned annually to Germany to speak, in German, about his family, in schools and at the Museum of Christians and Jews in Laupheim.
The experiences of Ernie’s family of intolerance and hatred of the ‘other’ in the Nazi period made him realise the continuing importance and relevance of Holocaust education in standing up against antisemitism, Holocaust denial, racism and today’s genocides. This passion led Ernie to set up the Northern Holocaust Education Group [www.northernholocausteducationgroup.org.uk]. He also sits on the Education Advisory Board of the Manchester Jewish Representative Council.