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

PRIVATE: created 1920, in Walldorf, Germany; passed away April 19, 2002, in Guatemala; immigrated to United States, 1937; United states resident; hitched Gerda Weissmann, 1946. Religion: Jewish.

JOB: Philanthropist. Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation, founder, 2000. Previously worked being a printer. Military 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 Holocaust and Global Genocides, a five-part tv show, ended up being made by the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications.

SIDELIGHTS: Kurt Klein was created in 1920 and was raised in Walldorf, Germany. Whenever Chancellor Adolf Hitler stumbled on energy within the belated 1930s, Klein’s moms and dads became uneasy about their nation’s future. Klein ended up being forced to stop school right after their club mitzvah because there ended up being therefore much prejudice against Jews, so he stayed home and taught himself English by reading concerning the usa. As he ended up being sixteen, their moms and dads urged kids to go out of Germany so that they could remain safe. Klein’s sibling immigrated towards the united states of america, Klein adopted her in 1937, and Klein’s cousin joined up with them in 1938. Klein, whom arrived in the usa with ten bucks in their pocket, worked as a typesetter, dishwasher, and cigar shop clerk, wanting to conserve sufficient money to enable their moms and dads to participate them in the usa.

Whenever Jewish homes and businesses had been assaulted 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 to be Jewish and had been delivered to a detention camp in France. Although Klein along with his siblings attempted to get their parents visas to the usa, they did not have money that is enough spend the expense, and their efforts had been stifled by bureaucratic guidelines. Because of the right time they got the visas, in 1942, their moms and dads have been deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Eastern Europe.

For the reason that exact same 12 months, Klein had been drafted to provide within the U.S. Army to battle up against the country of their delivery; their capability to talk German allowed him to the office in cleverness. While on patrol, he heard that the combined band of survivors from a concentration camp was discovered near a warehouse, and then he and other troops decided to go to investigate the problem and liberate the survivors.

One of several prisoners had been a young girl called Gerda Weissmann. Each of her household, except an uncle, have been killed by the Germans. After 36 months in a concentration camp, she and 2,000 other people was indeed forced to walk 300 kilometers before being abandoned into the warehouse that is booby-trapped just 150 of these had resided through the death march.

Klein asked the survivors if anybody talked German or English. Weissmann responded warily, “we have been Jewish, you understand, ” in accordance with an AP article reprinted on 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 towards the survivors. Klein aided Weissmann together with other survivors to security and health care bills.

Klein had been impressed by Weissmann’s good attitude and faith in humanity despite all of the horrors she had encountered, and while she recuperated at a displaced-person camp, he often visited her.

During the close for the war, Klein discovered that his moms and dads have been killed at Auschwitz. He asked Gerda to marry him, and she accepted. Then they relocated to Buffalo, ny, where he worked being a printer.

Within the late 1980s the Kleins moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where they truly became taking part in philanthropic work. They lectured about their everyday lives and whatever they had learned from their participation in war, imprisonment, and liberation. Gerda Klein composed guide, All but My Life, telling her story; Klein ended up being its editor.

The Kleins also collaborated on a novel 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 money for hard times, additionally the aftereffects of the war on the life. 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”

In 2000 the few created the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation, a nonprofit company that will help young adults find out about the entire world also to include the values of threshold, respect for other individuals, and community solution, with an focus on closing globe hunger. The Kleins had written: “Our fantasy is always to produce the chance of young adults to comprehend injustice on the planet, and convert that understanding into positive action. In the foundation’s website” And, they noted, “We decide to share the information of our lives’ darkest hours, to preserve the memory of this Holocaust and draw regarding the classes discovered from that duration of all time, into the hope which our message will enlighten pupils and nurture the seeds of social responsibility 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 promotes the tips of threshold, learning through the past, and presuming responsibility for the suffering of other people. The show had been selected for an Emmy prize.

Klein passed away on April 19, 2002, while for a lecture trip in Guatemala. In accordance with an Associated Press tale posted on, a household buddy stated associated with Kleins, “Their life together had been such as for instance a tale that is fairy. They carried an email throughout the world—how you can easily turn any degree that is horrible of into good, with sufficient courage and faith. “



Booklist, March 1, 2000, George Cohen, writeup on The full Hours After, p. 1192.

Library Journal, April 15, 2000, Kay Dushek, breakdown of The Hours After, p. 99.

Writers Weekly, 10, 2000, review of The Hours After, p. 56 january.