While he didn’t write books or put himself in the spotlight, he was renowned in the international circles important to the cause of remembering and became friendly with political and religious leaders in various countries. Not only was he a key administrator and fundraiser for the U.S. memorial, he personally carried back or arranged shipment for many artifacts now in the museum, from papers, to booklets to artwork, Langenauer said.
Mr. Lerman’s family owned a flour mill in Belzec, a town where, in 1942, 600,000 Jews and Gypsies were gassed.” The train station that brought the transports of Jews in to be killed was the same train station where my father sent the flour to be distributed to our customers,” he recalled in a talk at Temple Emanu-El in 2005.
Mr. Lerman was forced into a labor camp at age 19. After witnessing an atrocity, he and other men overpowered guards and escaped into the woods. He then joined the resistance.
“Our job was to raise havoc, to raise hell with them and survive,” he once told The Philadelphia Inquirer.