Erwin Stern

Erwin Stern was born in 1929 in Rechnitz, Austria where he lived with his parents, grandparents, and two sisters.  The family moved to Vienna when Erwin was six years old so his father could open a barber shop.

Erwin recalls that his life was uneventful until Kristallnacht in November 1938.  With the help of the O.S.E. Children’s Aide Society, his parents sent Erwin and his younger sister to France.  There they lived in a castle near Limoges with approximately 200 other children. They remained there for two years until being sponsored by Quakers to immigrate to the United States.

Erwin and his sister arrived on Ellis Island in 1941 and went to Philadelphia where they resided with a family for six months.  They were then sent to Kansas City and lived with another Jewish family where Erwin celebrated his Bar Mitzvah.  After graduating high school, Erwin was drafted into the Army and served in Korea from 1951 until 1952.

He returned to the United States, graduated from college and met his future wife. At the age of 25 Erwin received notification that his father had survived the Holocaust.

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Family photographs are the property of the survivor’s family and are used here with permission. Portraits are copyrighted by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. No photographs may be used or reproduced without permission.

©2013 Midwest Center for Holocaust Education

Testimonies may be used for individual research with proper citation. All other uses require written permission from MCHE. The above video testimony is edited from a full-length testimony that may be viewed onsite at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education or at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.

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