Hans Waider (1915 - 1944)

Hans Waider was born in Hanau in 1915 to Fritz Waider, a diamond cutter, and his wife Lina. As an adolescent, Hans was friends with Willi and Robert Eisenstädt, who were Jewish. He fell in love with the brothers’ sister Marta, who was the same age as he, and their son Heinz was born in 1938.

According to the Nuremberg Race Laws of September 1935, Hans Waider was not permitted to marry the mother of his child since Marta was Jewish. When he was drafted into the German Luftwaffe (air force) in 1941, he was very worried about Marta and their son. The couple arranged that if mother and child were endangered they would hide in the garden house of Hans’ parents.

When her entire family was supposed to be deported, Marta Eisenstädt lost her courage to go into hiding and she and Heinz joined her mother and siblings. On May 30, 1942, while Hans Waider was still away, they were all deported to Lublin, in German-occupied Poland. Most of them were later murdered; only Marta’s brother Robert managed to escape from Majdanek concentration camp and make his way back to Frankfurt am Main and Hanau in July 1942, where various people hid him in their homes.

In December 1942 Hans Waider was in Hanau on home leave from the Russian front. When he heard that Marta and his son were not in hiding, but had been deported, he was despairing. He offered to help Robert Eisenstädt, and gave him his leather boots, food, and procured forged Wehrmacht identity papers for him. Hans Waider then had to return to his unit; he did not survive the war.
Hans Waider
Photo: privately owned