Herman grew up in a Jewish community in Transylvania, Romania with his parents and six siblings. Herman was the fourth child of seven. Of his large family only he, one older sister, Rivka, and an older brother, Wilhelm, survived the Holocaust.
His mother perished with his younger brother and sisters in Auschwitz where they were gassed to death. His older brother was shot during a death march towards the end of the war. His father died of starvation in Germany. Rifkah survived Auschwitz, a factory labor camp, and Belsen Bergen. He and Wilhelm survived Mauthausen.
In 1942, at 16 years old he moved to a Jewish community in Budapest, Hungary and worked in a garage led by the Gestapo. Referring to anti-Semitism, his father told him “to be worried more from the Hungarians, then the Germans.” So he worked in a garage led by the Gestapo. The Nyilas, a Hungarian Armed Hitler force, came in and demanded the SS (Gestapo), who were guarding the garage, to hand over all the Jews. The SS officer asked, “Why do you want the Jews?” and the Nyilas said, “I want to kill them.” The SS officer said, “You take one more step and I will kill you. These Jews are working for us, do not touch them.” Herman said, “I owe my life to the Gestapo that day, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking with you now.”
In 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and Herman was sent to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria to work in a stone mine. The Allies liberated them in 1945.
After the war, Herman found his sister Rifkah in a hospital in Budapest. They went back to Transylvania to see if anyone survived. His brother also returned to Baia Mare, Romania and the three were reunited. They moved to Baumberg, Germany to a DP camp (displaced person’s camp). From there they tried to go to America, but instead went to Israel in 1948. Herman was drafted into the Israeli army. While in the Israeli Army, he and Wilhelm learned how to cook. Herman became a chef on a boat and in the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv. In 1956, he decided that he “wanted to see the world” so he moved to Brazil where, in 1960, he married his wife and had 2 children, a girl and a boy. In 1970, he was finally able to move to the U.S. because his brother, Wilhelm, was living there. Herman was a chef at Corky and Lenny’s in Cleveland, Ohio from 1973-2006.
Today Herman lives in Delray Beach, Florida and has two children and 13 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild, and another on the way.
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