"Hearing one person tell their story gave a completely different perspective to what happened, as it wasn't about statistics or about a nation as a whole, but one person who lost his family and home." ~O. Avery (student)

Kurt Herman

You can easily download and print his biography here (pdf)


Kurt Herman was born in October 1929 in Vienna, Austria. He went to school across the street from his house with Jews and non-Jews and frequently played with his friends after school. After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, Kurt’s non-Jewish school friends began calling him names and wearing swastikas.
The Nazis seized his family’s fabric business and his father was in constant danger of being arrested during random house raids by Stormtroopers. After Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, on November 9-10, 1938, Kurt’s family tried to flee Austria.
When Kurt was ten, his mother answered a newspaper ad looking for children to immigrate to America. A nurse and pediatrician interviewed and tested Kurt for his health, intelligence, and his ability to be separated from his parents. In May 1939, Kurt was selected, along with 49 other children, aged 5-14, to immigrate to Philadelphia.
Kurt set sail on the USS President Harding, arriving in New York Harbor on June 3, 1939. He was first assigned to a children’s summer camp and then placed with a foster family in Allentown, PA. Within two years, Kurt was reunited with his parents. His grandparents, however, had been killed in Auschwitz.
Kurt feels a great responsibility to act in ways that pay respect to the memory of his family. Herman has three daughters and eight grandchildren. He is a retired financial officer and a frequent speaker to school groups and others about his experiences during the Holocaust.

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