Irving Feinberg was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Mary Feinberg. Joseph died suddenly at the age of 35. After her husband’s death, Mary bought a grocery store in Germantown. Irving helped his mother run the store while the family, which included Irving’s two younger brothers, lived in an apartment above.
After graduating high school, Irving began working as a freelance photographer. In 1942, Irving was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 20. He was assigned to the Signal Corps, a unit responsible for developing and managing communications for the command and control of the armed forces. The size and role of the Signal Corps expanded dramatically during World War II. In addition to the unit’s primary functions, it also played a key role in producing training films as well as film documenting every major military campaign in the European theater.
After completing his training in the United States, Irving was sent overseas in 1943 where he completed further training in England. He convinced his superiors that he could be better used by the Army if he had a camera. He was then assigned to the Army Photographic Service and flown with a handful of other photographers to mainland Europe. He arrived at Le Havre, France, two days after D-Day in June 1944 and joined the Allied advance toward Paris.
While based in Paris, Irving’s official photo assignments included: the Liberation of Paris, the V-E Day Parade led by General Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Bob Hope’s performances for the troops, and the signing of the peace treaty at Reims, France. Irving also photographed the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on April 11, 1945, by the 6th Armored Division of the U.S. Army. The photos he took that day are evidence of the Nazis’ crimes against humanity. Irving was also assigned to photograph General Dwight D. Eisenhower on many occasions.
Irving returned home to Philadelphia on January 6, 1946. Twenty days later, he married Fredda Gershman. Irving completed college and bought a house under the G.I. Bill. He opened a successful photography business in Philadelphia before relocating to Florida. Mrs. Feinberg passed away in 2004.
In 2013, Irving became a member of the French Légion d'honneur for his service during the war. In 2015, he moved to Johns Creek, Georgia. He has 2 daughters, 5 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.
Helen Fromowitz Weingarten was born in the small village of Oybochco, Romania, in 1924 to Ferenz and Bertha Freimowitz. She was the seventh of nine. By the age of sixteen, Helen had completed her education and moved to the nearby city of Sighet where she studied sewing for a year before returning home to her family to work in a weaving factory.
In November 1940, Hungary joined Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance. Three years later, in November 1940, Hungary an ally of Nazi Germany, then invaded the region of Romania that included Helen’s hometown. In the spring of 1944, life for Helen and her family changed dramatically when they were forced to leave their home and move into the ghetto of Slatina. The ghetto was guarded by armed soldiers, one of whom humiliated her father by forcing him to shave off his beard. Escape from the ghetto was impossible.
At that time, Helen and her family did not know about the mass murder of European Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. However, Helen remembers her father telling the family that if anything should happen and they were separated, they should return to their village after the war to find each other again. In May 1944, the Jews of the Slatina ghetto were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp complex.
Helen survived selection upon arrival and was placed in the same barracks as her four sisters. They soon learned that their parents, their eldest sister and her children had been murdered in the gas chambers.
On one occasion, Helen narrowly escaped the same fate when she was being marched with 500 other women to the gas chamber and a Nazi guard announced that they were needed for work instead. Helen and her sisters were transported to Nuremberg where they were forced to work as slave laborers in a factory assembling parts for airplanes.
In April 1945, American forces liberated Nuremberg. Helen, three of her sisters, and their brother, Irvin, were the only members of their family to survive the Holocaust. Helen married a fellow Jewish-Polish survivor in 1947 and they emigrated to the United States in 1949.
Helen currently lives in Atlanta near her daughter, three grandchildren, and her great-grandchild.
Scott Merlin, Rachel Rosenbloom, and Lauren Baum in memory of their grandparents Eva and Sholem Iteld: Holocaust Survivors
read by Judith Shorer, Consul General of Israel
escorted by Takashi Shinozuka, Consul General of Japan
Eva Kaushanskaia Iteld was born in Kishenev, Romania, in 1916. During the summer and fall of 1940, Romania lost about 30 percent of its territory and population to the Soviet Union. After King Caroll II was forced to abdicate and a coalition government was formed with the fascist party the Iron Guard, Romania joined the Axis Alliance in November 1940 Anti-Jewish measures were quickly implemented and life for Jews in Romania became increasingly dangerous.
In June 1941, Romania participated in Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. In retaliation, Soviet forces occupied the region of Romania that included Eva’s hometown. Russian citizenship was transferred to the local population and when Nazi Germany invaded Romania, Eva and her family were evacuated to the Soviet Union. Eva worked as a night watch for a factory. While living in Lenger, Russia (now Uzbekistan) she met her future husband.
Sholem Iteld was born in 1898 in Bransk, Poland. After the Nazi German invasion of Poland in September 1939, he and his family were forced to move into the Bialystock ghetto. Sholem escaped the ghetto but was arrested by invading Soviet forces. He was imprisoned at a labor camp in Siberia but he was eventually released. Sholem was doing business on the black market when he met Eva through her brother. The couple married and returned to Poland after the war as part of an exchange of Polish citizens initiated by the Soviet Union.
Sholem and Eva moved to Krakow, Poland where they received assistance by the Joint Distribution Committee. They lived in Paris for 10 months before emigrating to the United States in December 1947. Sholem’s brother had settled in Atlanta before the war so the couple established new roots here as well. Their family grew to include two daughters, Judy and Louise, five grand children and nine great-grandchildren.
Sholem passed away in 1992 at the age of 94. Eva passed away just two weeks ago on April 23, 2016, at the age of 99.
Eva led a lifetime of volunteer service to the Jewish community and was recognized twice by the Atlanta Jewish Federation as a “Woman of Valor.”
George Rishfeld – originally named Jureck – was born in Warsaw, Poland, to Richard Rishfeld and Lucy Trainowitz Rishfeld. George was just six-months-old in September 1939 when World War II began with the German invasion of Poland.
George and his family fled to Vilna, Lithuania, where hoped they would be safe. The German army occupied Vilna in June 1941 and life for Jews in Vilna changed immediately. The Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators formed mobile killing squads which murdered thousands of Jews in the Ponary forest outside the city. They also established two closed ghettos in the city, one for Jews considered suitable for forced-labor and one for Jews deemed not capable of work. That ghetto was liquidated a month later. Residents of the first ghetto were often hungry and conditions were unsanitary, especially during winter.
As conditions in the ghetto worsened and deportations to killing centers and concentration camps continued, George’s parents decided that it was necessary to find a way to save their young son. Mr. Fronckvics, a former employee and family friend of George’s father agreed to care for George until the war ended. Mr. Fronckvics promised that he, his wife, and his daughter, Halinka, would raise George as their own son should his parents not survive.
After making arrangements to meet in the cover of darkness, knowing that they might never see their son again, Richard and Lucy kissed George good-bye and carefully threw him over the barbed-wire lined wall of the ghetto to Halinka and her boyfriend who were waiting on the other side. The Fronckvics were Catholic and made the choice to help their Jewish friends at great risk to their own lives if they were caught.
Just as promised, the Fronckvics welcomed George into their home and family as though he was their own child. George called them “mama” and “papa”. (To this day George still does not know their first names.) In his disguise as part of the Fronckvics family, George attended church with them every Sunday and wore a St. Christopher medal. Meanwhile, George’s father managed to escape from the ghetto. He was not able to rescue his wife and she was deported from Vilna to several other ghettos in Nazi occupied Europe. Despite being separated, Richard and Lucy survived the Holocaust and were reunited with their son, George.
The family emigrated to the United States in 1949. Adjusting to life in a new county was difficult at first for George but after graduating high school he joined the U.S. Army. It was very important for him to serve the country that had provided his family with the opportunity for a new life. He also completed college and began a successful career in the electronics industry. He and his wife Pamela live in Atlanta. They have two daughters and six grandchildren.
Gitte Toben in memory of her father, Kjeld Johansen: Member of the Danish Resistance
read by Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, Consul General of United Kingdom
escorted by Nagesh Singh, Consul General of the Republic of India
Gitte Toben was born in Denmark in 1952 to Kjeld Johansen and Alice Sachau Nordhoek. Her father, Kjeld, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1925.
On April 9, 1940, German forces occupied Denmark. While the Germans dominated Danish foreign policy, the Danish government was allowed complete autonomy in running domestic affairs, including control over the legal system and law enforcement. The Jewish population of Denmark at the time was 0.2% of the country’s total population and most Jewish Danes lived in the capital and largest city, Copenhagen. Unlike in other western European countries, the Danish government did not require Jews to register their property and assets, to identify themselves, or to give up apartments, homes, and businesses. In addition, Jews in Denmark were not required to wear a yellow star or badge. Danish authorities refused to discriminate against the Danish Jews and King Christian was outspoken about support of the Jewish community.
In early 1943, the tone of the German occupation changed when many Danes became convinced that Germany could be defeated after a series of Allied victories. Resistance activity increased dramatically and on August 28, 1943, the Danish government resigned rather than yield to new German demands that saboteurs be tried in German military courts.
Gitte’s father, Kjeld, was a member of the Danish Resistance. He became involved in the movement while he was in the Boy Scouts. Since he was a fast runner, he was selected to run to the upper floors of various buildings in Copenhagen and throw down leaflets of uncensored news about the war to the civilians in the street below. Kjeld was involved in many acts of sabotage and narrowly escaped arrest on more than one occasion.
One evening, Kjeld was out past curfew when a neighbor reported him to the authorities. His parents’ house was immediately raided by Nazis who pierced nearly every piece of furniture in their search for evidence while Kjeld sat immobile on a chair hiding seventeen rifles. In another instance, Kjeld was shot in the back while blowing up a supply train. Knowing that he could not seek medical attention without putting himself and comrades at greater risk, he went underground to avoid capture.
In late September 1943, after being tipped-off about a mass deportation order for the Jews in Denmark, the Danish resistance, assisted by many ordinary Danish citizens, organized a rescue operation which expanded to include the Danish police and government. Over a period of about a month, some 7,200 Jewish Danes and 700 of their non-Jewish relatives were transported safely by boat to Sweden where they were accepted as refugees. Kjeld’s name was on a wanted list but he was able to obtain a false identity, a new passport, and live as a farm worker during the last year of the war.
Kjeld passed away on June 30, 1970. He never talked about his experiences during the war. His daughter, Gitte, learned about her father’s courageous acts through her grandparents.
Bella Urbach Solnik was born in Zdnunska Wola, Poland, a suburb of Lodz. In September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Life for Jews in Poland changed immediately when anti-Jewish legislation imposed by the Nazis stripped Jews of many rights and freedoms. In December 1941, the Nazis began selecting Jews in Poland for transport to the Chelmno killing center located near Lodz. Bella’s father, Abram, was among those selected during that time. She never saw or heard from him again.
Bella was moved into the Lodz ghetto where she was reunited with her brother, Moshe. They lived there with about 160,000 Jews, a third of the city’s population, behind a barbed-wire fence. Moshe told Bella that their mother, 4 younger siblings, and older sister, Reisel, had been selected for death by a mobile killing squad of Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators. Reisel had lied to the guards and said she was pregnant so she would not be separated from her family. Pregnant women were considered unfit for work so she was sent, with her family, to her death.
Due to terrible conditions, disease spread quickly in the Lodz ghetto. Moshe contracted tuberculosis and died. Bella contracted typhus and was hospitalized. Once she was considered healthy enough by the Nazis, she was sent to work in a munitions factory in a town 80 miles south of Lodz. When a Nazi officer selected her for death after she was too weak to stand for role call, she was saved by a German factory worker who told the officer that her work was vital and she should be spared. In January 1945, Bella was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp, the largest camp for women in the German Reich. One month later, she was transported to the Dachau concentration camp.
While on a death march to yet another camp, Bella escaped into the Bavarian forest where she was rescued by a farmer who provided food, shelter, and a more permanent place for her to hide in a neighboring town. Bella did not tell the family that took her in that she was Jewish. When the war ended, it was expected that she would marry one of the sons of the family who took her in but when she revealed her Jewish identity she was forced to leave. Bella next found refuge in a Displaced Persons Camp where she fell in love with a fellow survivor, Pinkus Solnik, whom she met on her first day there.
Pinkus was born in 1924 in Lodz, Poland. He was the third of six children. In 1940, he was forced to move into the Lodz ghetto with his family. In 1944, they were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp complex, the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. Upon their arrival, Pinkus’ two younger sisters were slected for death. Their mother, Bluma, took the crying children by the hand and accompanied them to the gas chamber as Pinkus begged her not to go, knowing he would never see her again. Pinkus, his father, and two brothers were selected for slave labor. They were transported to a camp in Oranienburg, Germany. By then Pinkus’ father was too weak to accompany them on another transport, this time to the Flossenbürg concentration camp near the Czech border. Pinkus never saw his father again.
In March 1945, the remaining Solnik brothers arrived at the Dachau concentration camp where they were forced to work as slave laborers at various sub-camps until they were liberated on April 27, 1945, by American forces. Pinkus and Bella were married in January 1946. Their first child, Golda, was born in a displaced persons’ camp but in 1949 they family emigrated to the United States. They settled in Atlanta and their family grew to include two more daughters, 7 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchilren. Pinkus passed away in 2001 at the age of 77.
(Left to right: George Aigen, Manuela Mendels Bornsetin, and Consul General of Japan Kazuo Sunaga)
Manuela Mendels Bornstein: Holocaust survivor
Introduced by Denis Barbet, Consul General of the Republic of France
Manuela Mendels Bornstein was born in Paris to a Dutch father and a German mother. In June 1942, Jews in Paris were ordered to wear yellow Star of David badges for easy identification. In mid-July, the French police concentrated 13,000 Jews in the Velodrome d'Hiver sports arena in south-central Paris for days without food or water before deporting them to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Manuela and her family narrowly escaped this major deportation. Her parents decided to accept assistance from friends who were active members of the French resistance. With their help, the family moved to Legot, a small village in the unoccupied zone of southern France. The people in Legot were sympathetic to the plight of the Mendels family. Manuela and her sister attended school in a nearby village. The mayor provided them with false identification papers, putting himself and his own family at risk. No one in Legot denounced them. After Paris was liberated by the Americans on August 25, 1944, the Mendels returned to find that most of their Jewish neighbors had not survived. In 1960, Manuela moved to New York. She met her husband and the couple moved to Atlanta in 1972. They have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.
George Aigen: Liberator
Introduced by Representative Wendell Willard
George Aigen was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was in his first term at New York University when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. He felt it was his “duty” to be part of the war effort. So, at the age of 18, he was hastily inducted into the army. He was assigned to the 1269th Combat Engineer Battalion which was responsible for building roads and destroying mines and bridges. In the summer of 1944, just after his 19th birthday, George was shipped overseas to Marseille, France. As George and his unit crossed into Germany in April 1945 and approached Munich, they stopped a few miles ahead at Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp established by the Nazis in 1933. George and his unit helped liberate over 32,000 survivors left in the camp. He recalls the initial encounter with these words, “When we made it through the gate, it was like walking into another world. The first thing that hit us was the smell.” After the war, George completed his military service and received his college degree on the G.I. Bill. He and his wife live in Valdosta, Georgia.
(Left to right: Representative Joe Wilkinson, Norbert Friedman, Edith Benson)
Norbert Friedman: Holocaust survivor
Norbert Friedman was born in Kraków, Poland. At the age of 14, he applied to a poly-technical school but was denied admission due to discrimination laws against Jews. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Norbert and his family spent 3 years moving from place to place, avoiding capture. They reunited with family in Wielopole but the Gestapo entered the town soon after. Norbert was among the able-bodied men rounded up for deportation to work camps. Four weeks later, the town’s remaining Jews were deported to the Belzec killing center. Fifty members of Norbert’s family, including his mother, brother, and grandparents, were killed there in the gas chamber. Over the next 3 years, Norbert was assigned to 11 different camps including Dachau and Flossenbürg. He was liberated from a death march by the U.S. Army on May 1, 1945. He worked as an interpreter for the Fourth Armored Division until the fall of 1946 when he began studying for a career in journalism at Johan Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. He immigrated to the United States in 1950. He met his wife in New York. They moved to Atlanta in 2010. They have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.
Edith Benson in memory of her husband, Frank Benson: World War II Veteran and Witness to Liberation
Introduced by Kenneth DeSimone, Chief of Sandy Springs Police
Frank Benson was born in Macon, Georgia. His family moved to Atlanta and he graduated from Boys High School, now Henry W. Grady High School. He was working for Western Electric in North Carolina when he met his wife, Edith. He enlisted in the military on June 22, 1942 and was assigned to the 1st Army Headquarters Signal Battalion, a group of soldiers trained in communications and responsible for running ahead to establish communication lines. Frank and Edith married in February 1944, just before he was shipped overseas for further training in the United Kingdom. He landed on Omaha Beach on day 3 of the Allied invasion of Normandy. Frank and his unit stayed with the 1st Army through all five major campaigns of the war, including the Battle of the Bulge. They advanced through Europe, encountering towns demolished by bombs and combat, all the while ensuring that important information about troop movements and supplies was transmitted. Before the end of the war, Frank visited Buchenwald concentration camp where American troops had liberated more than 21,000 prisoners in April 1945. After the war, Frank returned home to Georgia where he started a family and attended night classes at Atlanta Law School. He remained in the National Guard for 35 years. He passed away on December 23, 2014.
(Left to right: Hilbert Margol, Sandy Springs Councilman Andy Bauman, Paula Neuman Gris)
Paula Neuman Gris: Holocaust survivor
Introduced by Andreas Maager, Consul General of Switzerland
Paula Neuman Gris was born in Czernowitz, Romania, an area that is now the Ukraine. After the war began, Paula’s family was forced to leave their home and move to the Czernowitz ghetto. In 1940, Paula’s father, Simon, was taken away. He never returned. In the summer of 1941, the area in which the Neuman family lived was conquered by German and Romanian troops. Romania was given the territory between the Dniester and Bug Rivers, a region dubbed “Transnistria.” The Romanian army and police, in support of German SS and on their own initiative, massacred thousands of Jews in Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria. In October, those left alive and in nearby ghettos were deported to Transnistria. Paula, her mother and infant sister were among those deported there. Four-year-old Paula cared for her sister while her mother reported for forced labor. In March 1944, the Soviet Army began liberating the region. The family lived in displaced person camps in Germany and the United Kingdom between 1946 and 1951 while awaiting immigration papers. In 1951, they arrived in the United States and made their home in Bronx, New York. Paula met her husband and they later settled in Atlanta. Paula completed her degree summa cum laude in early education from Georgia State University. Her and her husband have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
Hilbert Margol: World War II Veteran and Liberator
Introduced by Representative Tom Taylor
Hilbert and Howard Margol, identical twin brothers, were born in Jacksonville, Florida. They were freshmen at the University of Florida and enrolled in the ROTC when they were called to active duty. Despite military policy prohibiting brothers from serving in the same combat unit, their mother wrote to President Roosevelt requesting that her sons be allowed to serve together. Her special request was granted. Howard joined Hilbert in the 42nd Infantry Division. In January 1945, they landed at Marseille, France. On April 29, 1945, the brothers and their unit reached Dachau where they liberated over 32,000 survivors in the camp. The brothers recall, “As soon as we saw the ovens, we understood the source of the smell. At that time, we did not fully understand the gut-wrenching experience of Dachau or fully comprehend the meaning of what we observed. We had been ignorant of the existence of the camps.” After being discharged from the Army in April 1946, Hilbert returned to Jacksonville and completed his college education. He married, started a family, and became a successful businessman in Atlanta. He and his wife live in Dunwoody.
(Left to right: Howard Margol, Representative Bruce Broadrick, Elizabeth Lefkovits)
Elizabeth Lefkovits: Holocaust survivor
Introduced by Genevieve Verbeek, Consul General of Belgium
Elizabeth Lefkovits was born in Földes, Hungary, near the Romanian border. During the 1930’s, Hungary fell increasingly under the influence of Germany’s Nazi regime. Elizabeth was not able to pursue a university education due to a quota placed on Jewish students. Hungary joined the Axis alliance in November 1940. On March 19, 1944, the Germans moved into Hungary in order to forestall the Hungarian Prime Minister’s efforts to negotiate a separate armistice with the Allies. Fifteen days after the occupation, all the Jews in Elizabeth’s town were ordered to move into the ghetto. In June 1944, Elizabeth, her sister, and 2-year-old nephew were taken to another ghetto and labor camp. From there they were deported again to Auschwitz concentration camp where Elizabeth and her sister saw their father for the last time. Elizabeth was again deported to a labor camp in Breslau, Germany. In January 1945, Elizabeth was among those forced on a death march, walking over 18 miles each day for a week, without food or water, in brutal winter conditions. She was liberated by the Soviet Army in June 1945. She returned to Hungary and learned that 83 members of her family, including her parents and two sisters, had not survived. She met her husband and in 1949. They escaped the Communist regime in Hungary, fleeing to Vienna with fake passports. They moved to Venezuela where they lived for 18 years before relocating to Florida in 1980. Elizabeth now lives in Atlanta. Elizabeth and her husband have 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.
Howard Margol: World War II Veteran and Liberator
Introduced by Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul
Howard Margol and his identical twin brother, Hilbert, were called to active duty in March 1943. They were separated on assignment; Howard to the 104th Infantry in California and Hilbert to the 42nd Infantry in Oklahoma. After their mother’s special request was granted, Howard joined Hilbert in the 42nd Infantry Division, nicknamed “Rainbow” to reflect the composition of the unit which was drawn from the National Guard of 26 states and the District of Columbia. The brothers fought side by side as their unit advanced through France and Germany. As they grew closer to Dachau they discovered cattle cars packed with the corpses of people who had been transported from other camps then left on the tracks near Dachau by retreating SS. Howard and his brother, who had seen the carnage of war, knew that what they were seeing at Dachau was something different. After being discharged from the Army in April 1946, Howard returned to Jacksonville and completed his college education. He married, started a family, and became a successful businessman in Atlanta. He and his wife live in Sandy Springs. As survivors and liberators become fewer in number, Howard and Hilbert tell the story of what they witnessed to future generations because they strongly believe the world must never forget.
(Left to right: Board member Steve Sutton, M. Alexis Scott, Murray Lynn)
Murray Lynn: Holocaust survivor
Introduced by Peter Taylor, Consul of Political and Economic Relations for Canada
Murray Lynn was born in Bilke, Hungary – an area that is now part of the Ukraine. In 1942, when Murray was 12 years-old, the Hungarian secret police burst into his house and arrested his father. He and the town’s Jewish leaders were later shot. In April 1944, the Arrow Cross Party which shared an ideology similar to that of the Nazis, surrounded the town and forced the Jews into a ghetto. From there, Murray and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His mother and three brothers were murdered in the gas chambers. Murray was forced to work 12-hour days at construction sites. In mid-January 1945, as the Soviet Army was approaching the camp, the SS evacuated able-bodied prisoners on a death march. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or could not continue. The prisoners suffered from cold weather, starvation, exhaustion, and exposure. Murray was liberated by American forces in April 1945 at the age of 15. He was sent to a hospital to recover. He returned home to find that his family had not survived. He joined a group of other young, orphaned survivors and traveled to England then Dublin, Ireland. In 1948, Murray came to the United States by way of New York before settling in Atlanta. He met his wife, married, and began his career. Murray and his wife have 2 children.
M. Alexis Scott in memory of her father, William Alexander Scott III: World War II Veteran and Witness to Liberation
Introduced by Attorney General Sam Olens
William Alexander Scott III, “W.A.”, was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. His father moved the family to Atlanta and, at the age of 26, he founded the oldest black-owned daily newspaper in the United States – The Atlanta Daily World. W.A. was a Business and Math major at Morehouse College and engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Marian, when he was called-up for military service. At the time, the United States Army, like much of the nation itself, was segregated. W.A. was assigned to the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion in the S-2 Intelligence Section. He and Marian married just before he was shipped overseas in 1944. In April 1945, W.A. visited Buchenwald on an Army convoy with the 8th Corps of General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. W.A. took photographs of the atrocities for which the Nazis were responsible at the camp. After the war, he returned to Atlanta, completed his education and started a family. On July 16, 1948, racial discrimination in the armed forces was abolished by Executive Order from President Harry Truman. W.A. became circulation manager of The Atlanta Daily World and remained an active member of the Atlanta community throughout his life. He passed away on March 7, 1992.
(Left to right: Representative John Yates, board member David Rubenstein, Ben Walker)
Ben Walker: Holocaust survivor
Introduced by Ron Brummer, Deputy Consul of Israel
Ben Walker was born near Czernowitz, Romania, an area that is now the Ukraine. Even before Romania fell into the orbit of Nazi Germany, Romanian authorities pursued a policy of harsh, persecutory antisemitism--particularly against Jews living in eastern borderlands. In September 1940, after King Carol II was forced to abdicate, a coalition government of radical right-wing military officers came to power and requested the dispatch of a German military mission to Romania. On November 20, 1940, Romania formally joined the Axis alliance. In 1941, Ben and his family were deported to Transnistria. Romanian authorities established several de facto ghettos and two concentration camps in the region. Between 1941 and 1944, German and Romanian authorities murdered or caused the deaths of between 150,000 and 250,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews in Transnistria. Ben and his mother were the only members of his family to survive. His father, sister, uncles, and grandparents perished. After the war, Ben and his mother immigrated to Israel. Ben served in the Israel Defense Forces. In 1956, Ben joined his mother in Florida where he attended college and met his wife. The couple moved to Atlanta in the late 60’s. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Representative John Yates: Witness
Introduced by Representative Sharon Cooper
John Yates was born in Griffin, Georgia. He was raised on a farm during the Great Depression and graduated from Spalding High School. He was living in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, Annie, and their daughter when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was drafted and selected for officer candidate school. He signed up to be a liaison pilot and chose an outfit he thought likely to go to Europe – the 35th Infantry Division. In the spring of 1945, John participated as a military observer in the liberation of Dachau. For his courage in flying over 200 missions near or over enemy lines, John was awarded six air medals and four battle stars. He entered the Army with the rank of private and by the end of the war he had been promoted to captain. After returning home from the war, John completed a degree program at Georgia State University. He has served in the Georgia House of Representatives for over twenty years and chairs the Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee. In 2013, United States Army Captain and State Representative John Phillip Yates was inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame for his valor, outstanding leadership, and his exemplary life of selfless service to our nation. John is the last World War II veteran serving in the Georgia General Assembly.
Herbert Kohn was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 1926. At the age of 6, Herbert was forced to leave school after raising his hand when his teacher asked who was Jewish. That was only one of the many discriminatory policies the Nazis enforced on German Jews. Herbert’s father began trying to make plans for his family to seek refuge in the United States. In 1937 they received the required visas but were not able to leave due to strict immigration quotas.
Herbert’s father was arrested on Kristallnacht. After weeks in Buchenwald concentration camp he was able to return home because had a certificate proving he had fought for Germany as a front-line soldier in World War I. He left for England the very next day. Herbert’s brother followed shortly after. In May 1939, Herbert and his mother were finally able to join them.
In April of 1940 Herbert and his family were finally able to enter the United States under the sponsorship of a distant cousin. Rather than settle in a big city, Herbert’s father chose to learn how to farm and settled in Demopolis, Alabama. Herbert earned 25-cents a week milking cows every morning. Upon his arrival in the South, however, Herbert noticed a similar kind of segregation to that of the Jews in Germany - the segregation of African-Americans. Herbert became inspired to fight injustice and ensure equality and freedom for all.
In appreciation for the safety and security he found in this country, in 1945 Herbert volunteered for the U.S. Army. After the war he remained in the reserves and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Herbert and his family learned that most of the family that remained in Germany was murdered in the Holocaust.
Herbert received an agricultural degree from Auburn University and became an accountant. He is now retired from both his accounting business and from the building industry where he worked to provide affordable homes to low-income families. Herbert has five children and 11 grandchildren.
Henry Gallant was born in Berlin, Germany. After the relentless persecution of German Jews after Hitler took power, his parents attempted to emigrate. They were able to acquire landing permits for Cuba and so they bought passage on a German transatlantic liner, the S.S. St. Louis. The liner, which departed on May 13, 1939, carried more than 900 passengers, nearly all of whom were Jewish refugees. Upon their arrival in Havana, the Cuban government revoked their permission to land and the refugees were refused entry. The ship circled the eastern cost of Florida but was denied entry to the United States. This left the ship captain with no other choice but to return to Europe. Great Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands allowed passengers to disembark. When the S.S. St. Louis finally docked on June 17, 1939 in Antwerp, Belgium, Henry was sent to a children’s home near Paris.
Henry’s father was imprisoned in Gurs internment camp in France before being taken to Drancy transit camp outside Paris. From there he was sent to Auschwitz. Henry never saw his father again.
Henry and his mother moved to Nice in the south of France and were safe there until August of 1942 when the Vichy government, collaborating with the Nazis, began deporting French Jews. After buying false papers, Henry and his mother went into hiding. A non-Jewish family permitted Henry and his mother to stay in their attic until they were able to cross the Alps into Switzerland. Henry was placed with local families while his mother lived in a refugee center nearby. Henry began training in the culinary arts at the Swiss Hotel School.
After arriving in New York, Henry sought and was accepted for employment at the famous Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia. In 1949 he enlisted in the United States Army. He served for one tour of duty in the Air Force.
After his return to the United States, Henry became Captain at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s Empire Room. He remained there for ten years before moving with his wife to Atlanta where he founded his own catering company, serving customers in Atlanta for over 30 years. Henry has one son and a granddaughter.
Ben Hirsch was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 1932. His father was arrested on Kristallnacht and imprisoned at Buchenwald concentration camp. Ben was just 6 years old when his mother sent him and his four older siblings to Paris via the Kindertransport. They lived separately in various children’s homes and orphanages throughout France. In June 1941 his two older brothers escaped to the United States where they found refuge with their mother’s cousin, a rabbi in Rome, Georgia. In September of that same year, Ben and his two sisters followed.They arrived in Atlanta under the sponsorship of the Jewish Children’s Service. It was not until the war was over that they learned their parents and younger brother and sister did not survive Auschwitz.
Ben enlisted in the U.S. Army and served from 1953 to 1955. In 1958 he graduated from the School of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He designed one of the oldest Holocaust memorials in the country, the Memorial to the Six Million in Atlanta – which was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2008. Many of Ben’s religious architecture designs have received national design awards. Ben has four children and eighteen grandchildren.
Henry Birnbrey was born in Dortmund, Germany, in 1923. After the rise of the Nazi party and Hitler’s assumption of power in Germany, his father was accused of making statements against the government and was subsequently arrested. He was released only after he was forced to promise that he would abandon his business, leaving him unable to provide any income for his family. From 1937 to 1938 Henry’s parents applied for a visa so that Henry could leave Germany. They submitted applications to Palestine, New Zealand, and the United States. The U.S. was the first to grant an emergency visa, the very week Hitler invaded Austria in March 1938.
Henry left his family at the age of 15. He travelled as an “unaccompanied minor” to the U.S, under the sponsorship of the Birmingham Chapter of the American Council of Jewish Women. He was placed in foster homes, first in Birmingham and then in Atlanta.
Upon his arrival in Atlanta, Henry was given the news that his father was dead. Back in Germany, his father had been arrested again on Kristallnacht and died a few months later from the wounds he sustained that night. Henry’s mother died shortly thereafter.
Although Henry had support from the community, it was important to him that he provide for himself. His first job in Atlanta was as a clothing store clerk near Five Points. In 1943, just five years after leaving Germany, he joined the U.S. Army. He participated in the Normandy invasion and as his unit advanced through Europe he witnessed the persecution of Jews at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. They passed corpses from death marches left in ditches. Near Magdeburg, Germany, they found cattle cars still full of concentration camp inmates, both dead and alive. In spring 1945 Henry became a counter intelligence agent, responsible for the interrogation of German POWs.
After the war Henry learned that almost his entire family had died in concentration camps. Only two first cousins on his mother’s side and two first cousins on his father’s side had escaped in time to survive. He signed affidavits for two of these cousins to come to America. Henry opened an accounting firm in Atlanta in 1946 and then went to law school on the GI Bill. He has four children, 25 grandchildren, and 8 grandchildren.
Karen’s mother, Lola, was born in Łódź, Poland in 1926. Hitler invaded Poland in September of 1939. Lola and her siblings were sent to stay with their grandparents in their country home.
In 1941, German doctors arrived in the village, forced the Jews into a public school and ordered them to undress. They were inspected by the doctors and stamped with an “A” or “B”. Those stamped with a “B” were sent away. Among them were Lola’s grandparents, aunts, and cousins. She never saw them again. It was later discovered that they had been sent to Chelmno extermination camp while those stamped with an “A”, including Lola, her father, stepmother, and siblings, were sent to the nearby town of Ozorkow. There they were placed in an apartment with another family before they were moved into the Łódź ghetto where conditions were worse. Barbed wire fencing surrounded the ghetto and arrests were common. By the spring of 1944 it was the last ghetto in Poland before it was finally liquidated. Lola and her family were among the last Jews to be deported to Auschwitz.
Upon arriving at the camp, Lola lied about her age during the selection. Her father and brother were separated from Lola, her sister, and stepmother. A few months later the women were put on a transport to Ravensbrück concentration camp. From there they were transported to a sub-camp of Buchenwald, then transported again to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. During that time, Lola’s stepmother contracted pneumonia. She was placed in the infirmary where Lola and her sister remained with her, sleeping under her bed.
Lola’s stepmother died on April 14, 1945 – just one day before the camp was liberated by British forces. Having survived the ghetto and camp, Lola considered April 15, 1945 her second “birthday”. In June 1945 Lola discovered that her father and brother had survived and were living in Munich. They reunited and a year later moved to New York.
Rubin Lansky, a fellow survivor with whom Lola had fallen in love at a displaced person’s camp, followed them to the United States. Rubin was born in Ozorków, Poland, in 1923. He was arrested at the age of 17 and forced to work as a slaved laborer. He was imprisoned at Buchenwald and Stutthof concentration camps. He was able to obtain false papers and escaped just as the Soviet Army was advancing on Czechoslovakia. He was the only member of his family to survive.
Lola and Rubin moved to Atlanta in 1953. In 1964, Lola co-founded Eternal Life-Hemshech, an organization of Holocaust survivors and their families. Lola passed away in 1999 and Rubin in 2005. They have two children and six grandchildren.
Herschel Greenblat was born in the Ukraine in 1941. The German invasion of the Soviet Union had already begun and Herschel’s parents moved frequently to avoid capture. The first two years of Herschel’s life were spent hiding in a cave. Herschel’s parents and their fellow refugees in hiding depended on food scavenged from nearby farms. Harsh winter temperatures made conditions in the cave barely survivable. As a result, Herschel contracted diphtheria and tetanus, but somehow survived without medicine.
Herschel’s early memories are that of being carried by his father through areas of destruction. While still in the Ukraine his mother gave birth to a second child, a daughter. At the war’s end, Herschel, his parents, and his sister were transported from Russia to American-controlled Salzburg, Austria.
After the war several hundred thousand survivors remained in Europe in camps for displaced persons established by the Allies. The majority of the refugees no longer had homes to which they could return. Others wanted to leave Europe and the painful memories of the war and the Holocaust behind them. They hoped to create new lives elsewhere. Many remained in the Displaced Persons Camps until they had destinations and permission to emigrate.
Herschel and his family lived in these camps in Austria for five years until they received permission to come to the United States.They arrived on the ship, the U.S.S. General Ballou. Herschel clearly remembers his father pointing out the Statue of Liberty as they pulled into New York Harbor.The family came directly to Atlanta with only $80 in their pockets. The Atlanta Jewish community helped them begin a new life. Herschel’s father ran a grocery store in downtown Atlanta for many years. Herschel and his wife have two sons and four grandchildren.
Gail Cohn in honor of her father, Judge Aaron Cohn: Liberator
The Honorable Judge Aaron Cohn was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia where he developed a sense of justice and prevailed over prejudice to become a respected leader in his hometown, at the University of Georgia, throughout the state and in the United States Army.
Judge Cohn volunteered for the United States Army in the summer of 1940 and served in four major campaigns. As a Major in the 3rd Cavalry, he served under General George Patton and fought across France from Normandy to Metz, Germany, where he broke through German defenses and overwhelmed the retreating Nazi army.
Colonel Cohn was among the liberators of the Ebansee concentration camp in Austria. In 1946, after leaving the army, he resumed his law practice.
In 1965, Cohn became the Juvenile Court Judge and remained the presiding Judge of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit until his retirement in 2011. It was his love of children and passion for the underdog that resulted in a long, rewarding career. He remained steadfast in his commitment to preserving justice. He was a beloved jurist and regarded as a patriot by all who knew him. In 1983, Georgia legislators passed a resolution commending him for his distinguished service to the state. He retired in 2011 as the longest serving Juvenile Court Justice in the country; he was 95.
The Holocaust exhibit at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia, was created in honor of Judge Cohn. The exhibit pays tribute to the 35 American infantry and armor divisions that liberated the concentration camps on the Western front. Judge Cohn died on July 4, 2012. His daughter Gail Cohn says, “He was a hero because he lived his values and was a moral compass for all who knew him.”
Susan Segall in honor of her father, Laurence A. Grossman: Liberator
Laurence A. Grossman was a medical officer with General Patton in the 10th Armored Division of the United States Army. This division was known as "the Tigers." Dr. Grossman trained at Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, and was assigned to Fort Benning.
Dr. Grossman and the 10th Armored Division troops were the first Americans to disembark on French soil. The Division saw fierce combat in France and the Battle of Bastogne in Belgium. When they reached Germany, Dr. Grossman witnessed the first evidence of concentration camp victims and the devastating atrocities for which the Nazis were responsible.
As he drove into the heartland of Bavaria, the “Tiger” division overran one of the many subcamps of Dachau concentration camp, the first camp established by the Nazis immediately following Adolf Hitler’s appointment to chancellor of Germany in January of 1933. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reports, “the 10th Armored Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History."
What Dr. Grossman witnessed of the Holocaust changed his life. When he returned from the war and started a medical practice in Nashville, he integrated his office and staff, which resulted in death threats against him due to his strong stand against segregation. He truly was a hero to his family and community.
Bert Lewyn: Holocaust survivor (with grand-daughter)
Bert Lewyn was born in Berlin. In 1942, when Bert was 18, the Gestapo knocked on the door of the Lewyn family's home. Bert, his mother and father were arrested and taken from their home. His parents were deported to a concentration camp and Bert was conscripted as a slave laborer, forced to work in a weapons factory building machine guns for the German Wehrmacht.
His memoir “On the Run in Nazi Berlin” describes his many miraculous escapes and his struggle to survive on his own in Nazi controlled Berlin. He refers to that time of his life as living "in the belly of the beast." His courage, determination and cleverness brought him to freedom. After Germany was liberated, he spent three years in a displaced person’s camp in Bavaria until an army chaplain in Munich contacted him with information that someone in Atlanta, Georgia, was looking for his father. After some correspondance, Rabbi Tobia Geffen sponsored Bert’s travel to America in 1949.
Bert met his beloved wife, Esther, in Atlanta and founded Lewyn Machinery Company. Bert and Esther have five children and many grandchildren. Bert is a board member on the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.
Steven Low: Holocaust survivor
In May of 1940, when Steve was two years-old, he and his parents were refugees of Berlin, Germany. They arrived in Shanghai, China, which at the time was the only country in the world that allowed European refugees without a visa.
Steve says, "My recollection as a child was more vivid during the last three years of the war, the period when the Japanese interned us in a ghetto. I remember the constant bombing by US and British planes, day and night, as they attempted to destroy Japanese facilities. There was the whistling sound of bombs falling, and the loud explosions. Life was hard and food was scarce. Diseases, including typhus, were rampant. A daily pass was required to leave the ghetto. My dad managed to find work outside the ghetto. We were at the mercy of the Japanese in command, who would arbitrarily approve or deny the daily pass. I recall going to school, which was outside the ghetto, but I always had to prepare to quickly return home from school to take cover on the first floor of our apartment building whenever an air raid alarm was sounded. To this day I still get frightened whenever I hear a siren. Once there was a direct hit on an apartment building a block away from our building. My father and I, together with other men, helped put out fires by passing water buckets from one to the other on long lines. When the war was finally over, the excitement among all of us in the ghetto was immeasurable. However, it was quickly dampened when we were all told about the Holocaust in Europe and the fate of most of our relatives. We remained in Shanghai for two more years after the war until we were able to get a visa to enter the United States in July, 1947. When the communists took power, all the refugees had to leave China. We were lucky to enter the United States.”
Dory Profis: Holocaust Survivor
Dory Profis was born May, 1925, in Constantza, Romania. When the Nazis invaded the country in October of 1940, Dory was sent to three work camps in Romania. Her oldest sister chose to stay with her Polish husband; they were both sent to the Ukraine and never heard from again.
Dory, her mother and remaining sister, who had developmental disabilities, planted and harvested potatoes and vegetables in the work camps for 12 hours a day. At night they slept on hay in a stable. After the war, they returned to Constantza to find that their home had been seized.
Dory met her husband, Gerald Profis, in her home town. Gerald was born in Lublin, Bessarabia, in 1914. He was drafted into the Romanian army, captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia until the end of the war. He was determined to emigrate to America so he traveled to Constantza, a port city, to look for a ship. The two survivors met and their plans changed. Gerald left for Cuba where he had a brother. Dory and her sister had to remain behind because Cuba would not accept her sister due to her disability. When Gerald returned for Dory, she refused to leave her sister behind. So Gerald, Dory,her mother and her sister moved to Israel in 1950. Gerald and Dory married and had a son.
In 1953, Dory and Gerald moved to Cuba, leaving her mother and sister behind in Israel. The couple’s second child, Loli, was born the following year. To escape Castro, the couple and their children moved to Dothan, Alabama, then Milwaukee, Wisconsin before finally settling in Atlanta in 1965.
John Silva: Holocaust survivor
John Silva was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1921. He was forced to leave public high school in 1935, after the Nazis had come to power, In 1935. He completed his education at a Jewish high school. During Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass" in November of 1938, John's father was arrested. John as 17 at the time. The day after his father's arrest, he fled Germany, making sure to take his stamp collection with him. He was the only member of his family to escape the consuming fire of persecutation at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. When the war was over, John learned that his mother and sister had disappeared after being deported in 1942.
Following his escape from his own homeland, John travelled through Italy, France, Spain, Venezuela, Panama, and Peru before arriving in Bolivia with only his tourist visa to identify him. He was told that if he wanted to remain in the country he must colonize the Bolivian jungle. He eventually made his way to Argentina then to Uruguay, where he married and learned the wool trade.
John emigrated to the United States in 1947 under the Truman administration’s policy of granting admission to children who had lost parents during the war. He became a very successful businessman, served as director and arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association of New York and later volunteered with Catholic Social Services' immigration clinic.
John’s work with refugee and migration services reflects his enduring spirit for those striving to begin a new life in unfamiliar surroundings.
Mary Bos: Holocaust survivor and childhood friend of Anne Frank
Mary Bos was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch father and an American mother. As a young girl, she attended the Montessori School in Amsterdam with Anne Frank. Mary was a guest at Anne's 10th birthday party. There is a photo taken by Otto Frank of Anne, Mary, and seven others girls at party which can be seen on panel 41 of the Anne Frank in the World exhibit. Anne references Mary in her diary and Anne had also signed Mary's autograph book. Mary's father was a famous billiards player, a national sport in the Netherlands at the time. He refused matches against any opponent connected with Hitler and even made statements against the Nazi leader's military aggression. As a result he was put on a hit list and it turned out that the family's made was a Nazi spy. In 1939, the American Consulate issued a letter to Mary's family to leave Holland. The family left in secrecy for the safety of the United States in February of 1940. In May, the Nazis invaded Holland. Click here to read more...
Charlotte Janis: Second generation Holocaust survivor
Charlotte Janis mother, Gertrude Bickart Herman, was born in Munich, Germany in 1916. She was educated as a kindergarten teacher and in 1936 was sent to Spain to avoid the rising madness in Germany. Gertrude returned to Germany when her father died. She met and married her husband Kurt in 1938. They quickly fled Germany and went to Cuba to wait for a visa number to enter the United States. Charlotte's grandmother never left Germany, but later she was shot in the forest by the Nazis. Charlotte's father's parents and sister left Germany aboard the infamous ship S.S. St. Louis in 1939. They had landing papers for Cuba, but the papers were not honored. Their fate brought them to Brussels for four years and then they fled to France by train. The train was bombed, they were injured and later were sent to Auschwitz where they died. Charlotte's parents eventually came to Miami, Florida and then moved to Pensacola Florida where they lived for 40 years running a photography business and raising two children. Her father died in Florida and Gertrude moved to Atlanta to be with her children and grandchildren. She died in 2008 at the age of 92. Gertrude is remembered for her love of family, strong values and wisdom.
Stan Lefco: Second generation Holocaust survivor
Stan Lefco's uncles and parents, Holocaust survivors now deceased, were born in Sosnowiecz, Poland. The last camp Stan's mother was in was Bergen Belsen, the same camp where Anne Frank died. She lost her parents, three brothers and other family members. Stan's father survived the Buchenwald concentration camp, but lost his first wife and 2 young children. After liberation, they met in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany where Stan was born. The family then immigrated to Virginia in 1949 and later moved to Atlanta to be near their son.
Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld: Holocaust Survivor
Eugen was born in 1925 in Mukacevo, Czechoslovakia and graduated with a Baccalaureate in Mukacevo. From 1944 to 1945 Dr. Schoenfeld was interned as a prisoner at Auschwitz, Dachau and Muehldorf concentration camps. After liberation, he attended medical school in Prague for only one year. He then immigrated to St.Louis where he received a master's in Sociology from Washington Universit. He continued his studies and earned a PHD from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Schoenfeld is a professor and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. Upon retiring, he continues to travel and speaks to students, and diverse civic groups on his lifetime experiences. He has written two books: My Reconstructed Life and Faith and Conflict.
Rebeca Glinsky: Second generation Holocaust survivor
Rebeca Glinsky was born in Camaguey, Cuba. Her parents were fortunate to flee from the Ukraine and Poland to Cuba before the war began. In 1939, Rebeca's parents received their last letters from their brothers, sisters and parents. Within 3 years they were all murdered. Rebeca never got to know her grandparents and extended family. As a child, Rebeca remembers her parents' suffering and solemn silence when she asked questions. Rebeca is a docent at the Anne Frank exhibit and says that she helps other people understand that such an evil must be opposed. Rebeca recently celebrated 50 years living in the United States and proudly states that she has never taken for granted that her children and grandchildren live in this country.
Bob Monette and Dr. Morton Waitzman: Liberators
Bob Monett was a candle lighter for his uncle and surrogate father W.W. Wilkins. Mr. Wilkins rose from a 2nd lieutant to the rank of Colonel during his service in Europe. He earned ten citations for bravery in combat, a Bronze Star with Four Oak Leaf Clusters and two Purple Hearts. For Mr. Wilkins, the most redeeming event during the years in war was the liberation of several camps including the Buchenwald and Mauthausen concentration camps in Germany. He witnessed first hand the cruelty of the Nazi regime and for him these events validated his military service.
Dr. Morton Waitzman was with the 29th Infantry Division and landed on Normany, D-Day, June 6, 1944. Dr. Waitzman was part of the group that liberated several small camps in Germany and also captured the home of Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, where soldiers held a Passover Seder. Dr. Waitzman and his unit liberated the concentration camp Doramittelbau, a sub camp of Buchenwald where the slave laborers were forced to build V-2 rockets underground. When the the camp was freed, the main supply of Nazi weapons was diminished. After the war, Dr. Waitzman completed his PhD a the University of Illinois. In 1962 Dr. Waitzman and his family moved to Atlanta and he became Director of Opthamalogy Research at Emory University.
Martine Bookman: Second-generation Holocaust survivor
Martine Bookman’s mother and father are both Holocaust survivors. They were born in Alsace, France, on the German border. On September 1, 1939, they were suddenly evacuated from their homes along with their families as Hitler began his invasion of France. Martine’s mother and her family survived by living in a small village in the interior of France and befriending the local police who would warn the family of impending round-ups. Martine’s father’s story of survival has been documented by Steven Speilberg’s Shoah Foundation. His story includes time spent in a labor camp as well as a French Hitler Youth school where his Jewish identity was kept secret. Both of Martine’s parents, like so many survivors, lost many family members and friends in the Holocaust. Martine never knew her paternal grandfather because upon his arrival to Auschwitz he was sent directly to the gas chambers. It was not until the early nineties that the family learned that his exact date of death was March 17th, 1944. The Germans had kept the records but they were not released for fifty years.
Dr. John Galambos: Holocaust survivor
Dr. John Galambos was born in Budapest, Hungary. At the beginning of the war, he was transported to a Hungarian Labor Camp. Later he was transported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany until he was liberated by U.S. troops. His mother and other relatives were in different sections of the camp but they did not survive. John emigrated to the U.S. in 1947 and attended Emory University School of Medicine and graduated in 1952. Dr Galambos is a retired gastroenterologist.
Jake Goldstein: Liberator
Jake Golstein is a native of Milledgeville, Georgia. He was part of the 71st Division of General Patton’s 3rd army. Captain Goldstein was one of the liberators of the Gunskirchen Camp which was a satellite camp of the Mauthausen complex. An estimated 15,000 persons of all ages, almost all Hungarian Jews, were still alive upon liberation. Captain Golstein returned from the war with two Bronze Stars for his combat duty. Upon return, Mr. Goldstein completed his last year of college at the University of Georgia and became a businessman in Milledgeville.
Jay Vandiver: Eyewitness
Jay Vandiver was a Technician Third Class assigned to the automotive maintenance and support of the 42nd Infantry Division. On April 29th, 1945, he was a member of the group that entered Dachau concentration camp via the railroad bridge. He was an eyewitness to the liberation and still has tragic memories of the mere site of the gas chamber, crematorium and inhuman conditions.
Manya Dembrosky: Holocaust survivor
Manya Dembrosky was born in 1938 in Poltusk, Poland. In September of 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland, the Nazis came into her village and forced all the Jews to leave their homes. Manya and her parents walked through the Polish countryside taking refuge wherever they could. Somehow, the family was placed on a train to Russia. Manya and her mother never saw her father again after boarding that train. When he went to say goodbye to his mother he disappeared. It is believed that he was conscripted into the Russian Army. Manya and her mother spent the war in Russia where her mother gave birth to another girl who died very young. After the war, Manya and her mother attempted to return to Poland but the anti-semiticism was so strong that they left. Manya remembers being led at night over a mountain range into Germany and being told to be absolutely quiet or they would be shot. Manya and her mother spent five years in a displaced persons camp outside of Munich. At the age of 14, Manya was finally granted entry into the U.S. with her mother. She spent her teenage years growing up in the tenements of the Lower East Side of New York City where she says she spoke on the phone and rode an elevator for the first time.
Emily Pattillo in honor of her father, Ernest Roquemore: Liberator
Ernest Roquemore, a native of Atlanta, enlisted at the age of 34 and was trained as a surgical tech. He set up hospitals throughout Europe behind General Patton’s front lines. As a staff sergeant, Roquemore was part of the group that liberated the work camp Ebensee in Austria. He took pictures of the survivors and his daughter, Emily, has donated the photographs to the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. Roquemore was awarded a Bronze Star for his efforts in establishing hospitals.
Janine Storch: Holocaust survivor
Janine Storch was born and raised in France. When Germany invaded in 1940 she was 10 years old. Janine recalls that her family was forbidden to do any work or own businesses. Jews not allowed access to public places and parks. They were restricted to buying food but a few hours a day. Janine and her family left their apartment and spent the rest of the war in the small town of Medan. They lived with fear wearing the Yellow Star and worried that at any time the Germans would come for them. Fortunately, their neighbors never denounced them and in August of 1944 they were liberated by the Americans. Other members of their family were taken during the occupation and never returned from Auschwitz. Janine married a survivor and they settled in Atlanta.
Iris Bolton and the Representative John Yates
Penina (Penny) Bowman
Fred Von Oelschlaeger and John Jordan
Frances M. Kaplan
Martha Berlin with Mark and Sarah Popowski
Kenneth R. Powell
Caren Fox and Lisa Morchower
Abe Besser and Harry Scheinfeld
Sandra Soloway Craine
Livia Ungar Greeson
Rita Radza Nussbaum
Joe B. Zion
Penina and Harold Bowman