Bearing Witness to the Holocaust: Studio Portrait of Kurt Klein, Age Two

Studio portrait, from 1922, of two-year-old Kurt Klein.

In 1937, Kurt Klein’s parents sent him to live with relatives in Buffalo, New York. His parents, unable to immigrate, died at Auschwitz in 1942. According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum archives:

Kurt was inducted into the United States army in 1942. When the army discovered he was fluent in German, they sent him to Camp Ritchie in Maryland for intelligence training. He became attached as intelligence officer to the 5th Infantry Division to conduct interrogations of German POWs. Towards the end of the war, soldiers from his unit discovered 130 starving, emaciated Jewish female death-march survivors in a factory near Volary, Czechoslovakia. Kurt went to investigate the following morning and help arrange for medical help. He addressed the first woman he met in German, and she showed him where the others were staying. He soon fell in love with the woman, Gerda Weissman (born in 1924 in Bielsko Poland). They married in Paris on September 1945.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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