Leo Luster "The Past Is Another Country"

The remarkable story of Leo Luster, who grew up in Vienna’s second district in the 1930s.
Leo tells us about the thriving Jewish life in Vienna during the interwar years, which came to a halt with the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in March 1938. Eight months later, after the infamous Kristallnacht Pogroms against Jews, his father was arrested and lost his job while the Luster family was thrown out of their home. In September 1942 Leo and his parents were deported to Ghetto Theresienstadt. After two years Leo and his father were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In January 1945 Leo was sent on a death march but could survive. He was freed by the Red Army and was able to find his mother again. In 1949 they moved to Israel where Leo met his future wife and found a new home.

Study Guides

Austria before the war

Leo Luster’s parents met in Vienna while the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy still existed. At that time more than 175.000 Jews lived in Vienna. Read here more about the Jewish history of Austria.

Lesson plans for this film

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For grades Documents

Centropa Biography Film/Stolpersteine Assignment

History, other projects
In this project, students work in pairs to read Centropa biographies, create a 5 minute video about the interviewee, and design a Stolpersteine (commemorative stone) for them.
6, 7, 8, 9