Walter Marx in family portrait, Montpellier, 1942
Photographed by Mitch Braff in May of 2003
Walter Marx was born in Heilbronn, Germany on February 27, 1926. When the hatred of his antisemitic classmates became unbearable, 9-year-old Walter moved to Luxembourg to live with relatives. Soon, Walter's parents were forced to relinquish control of their business and, on Kristallnacht, their home was destroyed and his father arrested. The Germans eventually released his father, and both parents joined Walter in Luxembourg.
Walter joined the Italian partisans in 1944. His primary responsibility was to solicit food from Italian farmers and manage paperwork. While posing as an Italian interpreter for the German SS, he gathered critical intelligence and captured an Italian spy sent to locate Jews and partisans hiding in the mountainside. His unit actively engaged the Germans, once stalling a convoy of troops from advancing on a strategic road to France by employing mortar and small arms fire.
Walter says, "Being a survivor of the Holocaust you have dual feelings; you are happy to have survived, but you also have a certain guilt feeling — on the other hand, it gives me a certain satisfaction that I fought the evil that caused the death of my family and friends."