Birthday: Nov 17, 1925Website:
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Curt Lowens (born 17 November 1925 - 8 May 2017) was an actor of the stage and in feature films and television, as well as a Holocaust survivor and a rescuer who saved about 150 Jewish children during the Holocaust.
Born Curt Löwenstein in the East Prussian town of Allenstein (now Olsztyn, Poland), his father was a respected lawyer, and his mother was active with several local Jewish community organizations. His father's career declined due to loss of clients after the Nazis' takeover of Germany, so the family moved to Berlin hoping that the city's large Jewish community could provide more protection. Young Curt continued to receive an education and to prepare for his bar mitzvah under the guidance of Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue. After the violence of Kristallnacht (also known as the November Pogrom) in November 1938, the Nazis closed his school. In early 1939, Lowens received his bar mitzvah in a school auditorium with 34 other youths.
Lowen's older brother Heinz successfully emigrated to Britain a few months before the start of World War II. Curt and his parents planned to emigrate to the United States via the neutral Netherlands in early 1940. While waiting to depart from Rotterdam, however, the Germans invaded the Netherlands on the intended day of their departure. During the first two years of the German occupation, Curt's father worked at a desk job for the Jewish Council in Amsterdam, which initially saved the family from deportation to Auschwitz. Nonetheless, Curt and his mother were rounded up and deported to Westerbork in June 1943, but they were released through his father's connections.
The family subsequently went into hiding, each separately since individuals were more readily placed in homes of rescuers. Curt took on the false identity of "Ben Joosten." He managed to visit his mother when she, also under a false name, was treated at a hospital run by Catholic nuns; she died in January 1944. Curt, meanwhile, had become active in a network of Dutch rescuers, including Hanna van der Voort and Nico Dohmen, aiding Jewish children in hiding. By war's end, some 150 Jewish children were rescued by this group alone. Curt Lowens also aided two downed American Army Air Corps flyers, for which he later received a commendation from General Dwight D. Eisenhower. After liberation, he joined the British Eighth Corps as an interpreter, aiding the British in their house arrest of the remaining Nazi leaders in Flensburg, Germany in mid-May 1945.
In 1947, Curt, his father, and step-mother immigrated to the United States. Under the name Curt Lowens, he trained to became an actor, studying at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York. His career was active up until his last days, appearing in well over 100 films and TV shows since 1960.
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