The tenacious legacy of Heinrich Ramras

di Paola Chinellato

Three grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and many more great-great-grandchildren: this is just part of the tenacious legacy of Heinrich Ramras (1887-1944), a textile merchant from Vienna that was imprisoned in the Urbisaglia internment camp from 1941 until 1943 and that was later transferred to Auschwitz, never to return.

On Monday 29th April those three grandchildren visited Urbisaglia, in the attempt to follow their grandfather’s last footsteps. Up until very recently, they didn’t know anything about Heinrich’s story: their mother Gertrude, Heinrich’s eldest daughter, never found the strength to tell them the sequence of events that led to his death at Auschwitz extermination camp. It was only when they found Heinrich’s letters to Gertrude that they could finally start piecing the past back together. Some of those letters were sent from a town called Urbisaglia, so that is where they started: they wrote to the town council, who in turn put them in contact with the local group of the Association of Italian Partisans, who has spent the last few years collecting documents and material concerning the Urbisaglia internees, including Ramras.

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