"Anyone can go to the Holocaust museum [in Washington DC] but not everyone gets this experience." ~A. Speitel (student, 17)
You can download and easily print Gunter's biography here (pdf)
Gunter Hauer was born in Berlin, Germany in 1919. His father fought in WWI and earned the Iron Cross. His mother was a homemaker. In 1929, when Gunter was ten years old, he went to see Adolf Hitler speak at a Nuremberg Rally and he could not believe what he was saying. Then in January 1933, Hitler came to power and Gunter’s life began to change. Within a few short years, he was no longer allowed to sit on a public park bench or go to the movies.
During Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938, Gunter’s school teacher, a clear Nazi supporter, sent Gunter home for the sole purpose of being Jewish. His parents then decided that they should leave Germany. His Aunt worked in the travel business and was able to obtain passports to go through Russia to Shanghai, China, an open city, for him and his parents. However it turned out to be a scam and they remained stuck in Nazi Germany.
By sheer luck, his Aunt was able to get three spaces aboard the Terukuni Maru, a Japanese ship, that was sailing to Shanghai and on September 1, 1939, the start of WWII, they were sailing through the Suez Canal. One month later they arrived in the Shanghai Ghetto.
Gunter survived the war, got married, and made his way to California and eventually to Philadelphia where he worked in the music industry, eventually becoming an executive at Atlantic City Records promoting concerts and events.