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Ralf Heinz Harpuder

Stolperstein für Ralf Harpuder, Foto: H.J. Hupka
Ralf in Shanghai, Foto: Familienbesitz
Ralf Harpuder, Foto: Familienbesitz
Gerda Harpuder, Foto: Familienbesitz
Hans Harpuder, Foto: Familienbesitz
Gerda und Ralf Harpuder, Foto: Familienbesitz
Gerda Harpuder-Summer, Foto: Familienbesitz
Südwestkorso 59

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – Wilmersdorf

04/12/1934 in Berlin
1939 - Italien, von dort nach Shanghai; 1947 - USA

Ralf Heinz Harpuder was born 12 April 1934 in the Wilmersdorf neighborhood of Berlin, Germany to Hans and Gerda Harpuder (geb. Lewin). In 1937, Ralf, along with his father had his citizenship revoked by the Nazi government and was declared stateless as part of the implementation of the Nuremberg laws. As a four-year-old child, Ralf was diagnosed with appendicitis, but due to the implementation of the Nuremberg laws, his parents had difficulty finding a doctor within the city center who would operate on him. They subsequently traveled to the countryside to find a doctor willing to perform the operation. In 1939, the Harpuder family fled Berlin for Shanghai, China, the last open city where stateless refugees could enter without a visa. Ralf’s very last memory of Berlin prior to departure was his arrival at Anhalter Bahnhof where the family boarded a train for a ship leaving from Trieste, Italy. Ralf spent his most formative years living in the Jewish ghetto of Hongkew in Shanghai. There he attended a Jewish school whose instruction was in German, the native tongue of the Jewish refugees. Those years living in China shaped his outlook on life and helped to forge a very tight relationship with his mother, particularly after the passing of his father, Hans in 1945. In 1947 he immigrated with his mother, sister, and grandmother to Los Angeles, California where he went on to finish high school. He subsequently attended a 2-year college and began working for Douglas Aircraft company performing mathematical calculations for aircraft construction. He also served his adopted nation in always remaining proud of his service which gave him the opportunity to truly live the American Dream; this was in stark contrast to the horrors he would have faced in Nazi Germany. In 1965 he married Yvonne Harpuder (geb. Friedemann) who herself was the daughter of refugees from Berlin having been born just four years after their arrival in the United States. After marriage, he returned to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and began a career working with the Los Angeles County Health Department until his retirement in 1996. In 1974, his only child, Brian was born. Brian was raised with a combination of Jewish and German traditions that had accompanied Ralf’s and Yvonne’s families as they moved from Berlin. In his later years, Ralf spent his free time exploring his family’s history in Germany and his own childhood in Shanghai. His dedication to maintaining detailed family records in pristine albums will ensure his descendants live the mantra of “never forgetting.” Throughout his life, Ralf never lost his German identity or culture, always enjoying the full spectrum of the German kitchen and identifying as ethnically German until the day he died. On 31 July 2009 Ralf Harpuder died in Los Angeles, California. He lived a full life dedicated to ensuring future generations would not forget the horrors of the past while also be committed to forgiveness and a better future.

Documentation of the laying of the stones:

Dieser Stolperstein wurde von Brian Harpuder gespendet und am 24.2.2020 vom Künstler Gunter Demnig im Beisein von Familienangehörigen, der Gesandten und vielen Angehörigen der Botschaft der USA sowie Vertretern der Bundeswehr verlegt.

Dokumentation der Verlegung:

Weitere Vorfahren und Mitglieder der Familie Harpuder, die Opfer der Nationalsozialisten wurden und für die z. T. Stolpersteine verlegt wurden:

Lina und Willy Friedemann, ermordet in Riga, Oranienstr. 158, Berlin, verlegt am 2.5. 1996 – erste Stolpersteine in Berlin: Urgroßtante von Brian Harpuder.

Isidor und Hedwig Abraham. Bernauer Str. 2, Oranienburg: Urgroßeltern mütterlicherseits von Brian Harpuder mit ihren Kindern Kurt und Ilse, verh. Friedemann, Großmutter von Brian Harpuder, die durch Flucht überlebt haben.

Genia Harpuder, geb. Gritz, ermordet in Stutthof, Heilbronner Str. 3, Berlin-Schöneberg (Großtante von Brian Harpuder)

Gertrud Harpuder, geb. Hannes, ermordet in Auschwitz, Heilbronner Str. 3, Berlin-Schöneberg (Urgroßmutter von Brian Harpuder väterlicherseits)

Peter Harpuder, ermordet in Auschwitz, Heilbronner Str. 3, Berlin-Schöneberg, (Cousin von Ralf Harpuder) Stolpersteine geplant

Biographical Compilation

Recherche und Text: Brian Harpuder

English Translation

Recherche and text: Brian Harpuder,