Klein, Kurt 1920-2002. PERSONAL: Born 1920, in Walldorf, Germany; passed away 19, 2002, in Guatemala april

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PRIVATE: created 1920, in Walldorf, Germany; passed away 19, 2002, in Guatemala; immigrated to United States, 1937; American citizen; married Gerda Weissmann, 1946 april. Religion: Jewish.

JOB: Philanthropist. Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation, founder, 2000. Formerly worked as being a printer. Armed forces service: offered in U.S. Army, 1942-45.


(Editor) Gerda Klein, All but My Life, Hill & Wang (nyc, NY), 1957.

(With Gerda Klein) The Hours After: Letters of Love and Longing within the War’s Aftermath, St. Martin’s Press (ny, NY), 2000.

ADAPTATIONS: Memories, Voices, and alternatives: classes discovered through the blackcupid Holocaust and Global Genocides, a five-part tv show, ended up being created by the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications.

SIDELIGHTS: Kurt Klein was created in 1920 and spent my youth in Walldorf, Germany. Whenever Chancellor Adolf Hitler found energy within the belated 1930s, Klein’s moms and dads became uneasy about their nation’s future. Klein had been forced to quit college right after their club mitzvah because there ended up being therefore much prejudice against Jews, so he stayed house and taught himself English by reading in regards to the united states of america. They could stay safe when he was sixteen, his parents urged their children to leave Germany so. Klein’s cousin immigrated towards the united states of america, Klein used her in 1937, and Klein’s bro joined up with them in 1938. Klein, whom found its way to the usa with ten bucks in the pocket, worked as a typesetter, dishwasher, and cigar shop clerk, wanting to save yourself money that is enough allow their moms and dads to become listed on them in the usa.

Whenever Jewish homes and companies had been attacked when you look at the Kristallnacht that is infamous in, Klein’s moms and dads’ house had been vandalized. In 1940 their parents had been arrested if you are Jewish and had been provided for a detention camp in France. Although Klein along with his siblings attempted to get their parents visas to america, they did not have money that is enough spend the expenses, and their efforts had been stifled by bureaucratic guidelines. By the time they got the visas, in 1942, their moms and dads was indeed deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Eastern Europe.

For the reason that year that is same Klein ended up being drafted to provide into the U.S. Army to battle resistant to the nation of his delivery; their capability to speak German permitted him to function in cleverness. While on patrol, he heard that the combined number of survivors from a concentration camp have been discovered near a warehouse, and then he as well as other troops went along to investigate the specific situation and liberate the survivors.

One of many prisoners ended up being a young girl known as Gerda Weissmann. Each of her household, except an uncle, was indeed killed because of the Germans. After 3 years in a concentration camp, she and 2,000 other people have been forced to walk 300 kilometers before being abandoned when you look at the warehouse that is booby-trapped just 150 of those had resided through the death march.

Klein asked the survivors if anybody talked German or English. Weissmann replied warily, “we have been Jewish, you understand, ” according to an AP article reprinted on MyHero.com. Klein hesitated, then stated, “therefore have always been we. ” Weissmann later recalled, “It had been the hour that is greatest of my entire life, ” noting the kindness and courtesy he revealed into the survivors. Klein aided Weissmann while the other survivors to safety and health care.

Klein ended up being impressed by Weissmann’s great attitude and faith in mankind despite all of the horrors she had withstood, and while she recuperated at a displaced-person camp, he usually visited her.

During the close for the war, Klein discovered that his parents was in fact killed at Auschwitz. He asked Gerda to marry him, and she accepted. Then they relocated to Buffalo, nyc, where he worked as being a printer.

The kleins moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where they became involved in philanthropic work in the late 1980s. They lectured about their life and whatever they had discovered from their participation in war, imprisonment, and liberation. Gerda Klein published guide, All but My Life, telling her tale; Klein was its editor.

The Kleins also collaborated on a guide titled The Hours After: Letters of enjoy and Longing in War’s Aftermath, an accumulation of the letters they published to one another throughout the 12 months before these people were in a position to marry, exposing their love, their plans for future years, plus the ramifications of the war to their everyday lives. A reviewer called the guide “engrossing, ” as well as in Library Journal, Kay Dushek called it an “amazing testament to steadfast love. In publishers Weekly”

A nonprofit organization that helps young people learn about the world and to incorporate the values of tolerance, respect for others, and community service, with an emphasis on ending world hunger in 2000 the couple created the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation. In the foundation’s webpage, the Kleins published: “Our fantasy would be to produce the chance for young adults to know injustice on the planet, and translate that understanding into good action. ” And, they noted, “We decide to share the main points of our everyday everyday lives’ darkest hours, to protect the memory of this Holocaust and draw regarding the classes discovered from that period of all time, into the hope our message will enlighten pupils and nurture the seeds of social obligation that grow within their hearts. “

The Klein Foundation developed a five-part television series titled Memories, Voices, and Choices: Lessons Learned from the Holocaust and Global Genocides in cooperation with the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications. The series examines genocide, through the Holocaust to present times, and encourages the a few ideas of threshold, learning from the past, and responsibility that is assuming the suffering of other people. The show ended up being selected for the Emmy prize.

Klein passed away on April 19, 2002, while for a lecture trip in Guatemala. Based on an Associated Press tale posted on MyHero.com, a household buddy stated regarding the Kleins, “Their life together had been like a tale that is fairy. They carried a note across the world—how you’ll turn any degree that is horrible of into good, with sufficient courage and faith. “



Booklist, March 1, 2000, George Cohen, overview of The Hours After, p. 1192.

Library Journal, April 15, 2000, Kay Dushek, article on The Hours After, p. 99.

Writers Weekly, January 10, 2000, report on The Hours After, p. 56.