Local Survivors

Here is a small sample of some of the survivors that made the El Paso area their home.

Agnes (Klein) Schaechner

Agnes (Klein) Schaechner was born in 1930 in Debrecen, Hungary to an Orthodox Jewish family- parents Solomon and Lily Klein and twin brothers Otto and Ference. In 1944, they were forced into the ghetto then deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Agnes was later sent to concentration camps and was liberated by the American Army on April 14, 1945. Agnes came to the United States in 1949 and married survivor Tibor Schaechner in 1956. They had three daughters. After earning a Master's degree, Agnes went into social work. She worked for the Texas Department of Human Services for 22 years. Agnes died in 1998. ....Read More

Arlene (Grunberger) Pergricht

Arlene (Grunberger) Pergricht was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1912 to David and Hannah Grunberger. Arlene had three older brothers and two sisters. She married in 1937 and became Arlene Shugart. Arlene was forced into the Budapest ghetto with her son Peter, nephew and mother in 1944. Arlene's mother was taken in a round-up, which Arlene narrowly escaped. She was liberated on January 20, 1945. Her husband did not survive, and in 1948, Arlene and Peter immigrated to the United States. She married survivor Bernard Pergricht in 1959, and they moved to El Paso, Texas in 1978. Arlene died in 1994. ....Read More

Bernard Pergricht

Bernard Pergricht was born on April 12, 1913 in Sosnowiec, Poland. He had five brothers and three sisters. Bernard worked at a lumber company until 1939. In 1941, his parents and young wife were deported and killed in Auschwitz. Bernard was sent to Blechhammer labor camp. January 1945 he was sent on a death march to Gross Rosen then liberated by the American Army on a second death march in April 1945. Bernard came to the United States in 1952, and he and his two surviving brothers opened a liquor store. Bernard married survivor Arlene Shugart in 1959, and in 1978 they moved to El Paso. Bernard died in 2001. ....Read More

David Kaplan

David Kaplan was born in 1928 in Kaunas, Lithuania. In 1941, the Nazis occupied Lithuania, and David and his family were forced into the Slobodka Ghetto. In 1942, they were sent to Sanzai and then deported to Stutthof concentration camp. David's mother and sister perished in Majdanek, and David and his brother were sent to Landsberg where his brother perished. In April 1945, David was forced on a death march to Dachau and Bad-Toelz where he was liberated by the American Army. David immigrated to the United States in 1949. He met his wife in Mexico, and they moved to El Paso where David became a successful businessman. ....Read More

Dr. Edith Eger

Edith Eger was born on September 29, 1927, in Kosice, Slovakia, where she lived with her parents and two sisters, Magda and Clara, until 1944 when the Nazis occupied Hungary and forced them into Kosice Ghetto. In May 1944, they were loaded onto cattle cars and sent to Auschwitz, where Edith first encountered Dr. Mengele. In November 1944, Edith and Magda were consigned to ammunition trains and slave labor. In May 1945, they were liberated from Gunskirchen and were reunited with Clara in Prague. Edith married and came to the United States. She had three children and became a clinical psychologist. ....Read More

Dr. Larry Gladstone

Dr. Larry Gladstone was born in 1922 in Vishniak Chamenitza, Czechoslovakia. In 1943, Larry was forced into a labor battalion digging anti-tank ditches in Poland and Ukraine. In 1944, he was forced on death marches to Mauthausen then to Gunskirchen. Larry survived a deadly typhus epidemic and was liberated by the American Army in May 1945. Larry learned that his sister Clara had perished in Auschwitz, but his sister Edith survived. In 1945, Larry went to Charles University then came to the United States in 1946. He attended medical school in El Paso then married Beatrice Marcus in 1953. They had three children. ....Read More

Edith (Gluck) Kallman

Edith (Gluck) Kallman was born on July 5, 1924 in Czechoslovakia. In 1943, Edith and her family fled into Hungary where they were separated. Edith lived under the false name of Anika Braun until moving to Debrecen where she was caught in a roundup and sent to Auschwitz in 1944. Edith was then consigned to labor in Ravensbruck and Oranienberg. She was liberated on a death march by the Soviet Army in 1945. Edith was reunited with her brothers, Maurice and Alex, and her sister, Gizella, in Budapest. She immigrated to the United States in 1948. Edith married Irving Kallman in 1949 and had three children. ....Read More

Ferenc (Frank) Klein

Ferenc (Frank) Klein was born on June 7, 1932 in Hajduboszormeny, Hungary to an Orthodox Jewish family- parents Solomon and Lily, sister Agnes and twin brother Otto. In 1944, the Klein family was forced into the ghetto before being deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where Frank and Otto were selected by Dr. Mengele for twin experimentation. They remained there until they were liberated in January 1945 at the age of 12. Otto was hospitalized in Switzerland to recover from tuberculosis and remained there. Frank immigrated to the United States, making his home in El Paso, Texas. Frank died in 1986. ....Read More

Hannah (Schmidt) Burstein

Hannah (Schmidt) Burstein was born on January 8, 1922 in Tarnow, Poland to Mendle and Amalia Schmidt. She had four brothers and one sister. After the Nazi invasion, Hannah and her family were forced into the Tarnow Ghetto. From there Hannah was sent to Plaszow concentration camp with her father who perished there. She was then sent to Auschwitz. Hannah was liberated from a labor camp in Czechoslovakia in May 1945. After the war, Hannah married Paul Burstein, and they had a son. They immigrated to El Paso, Texas. Hannah died in 1995. ....Read More

Henry Kellen

Henry Kellen was born in Lodz, Poland in 1915. His family- parents Moses and Helena, sister Sonia, and brother Moniek- moved to Lithuania while Henry earned his degree in France. In 1941, Lithuania was occupied, and Henry and his family were forced into the Kovno Ghetto. His father and brother were killed shortly after. In 1944, Henry, his wife Julia, and his nephew Jerry escaped the ghetto and were hidden by a Lithuanian farmer until liberation by the Soviet Army in July 1944. Henry, Julia, and Jerry came to the United States in 1946. Henry is the founder of El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center. ....Read More

Irene Osborne

Irene Osborne (Ingeborge Eichberg) was born in Koblenz, Germany in 1927. Her family- parents Joseph and Emmy Eichberg and sister, Ruth - were Orthodox Jews. After Kristallnacht and the arrest of Joseph, Emmy sent her daughters to France. Irene and Ruth lived as Protestants under false names with relatives in La Bastide-des-Jourdans in Aix-en-Provence until the arrival of the American Army in France in 1944. In 1946 Irene immigrated to the United States where she married Herald Osborne (Hans Oppenheim) and had three children. Irene moved to El Paso after the death of her husband in 1992. ....Read More

Itzhak Kotkowski

Itzhak Kotkowski was born on December 25, 1921 in Warsaw, Poland. After the Nazi invasion in 1939, Itzhak decided to leave Poland. He was arrested in 1940 by the Communists on suspicion of being an "enemy of the state" and was sent to Bialystok Prison. From there he was sentenced to forced labor in Siberia but in 1941 was given amnesty in exchange for service in the Soviet Army until the end of the war. In 1946, Itzhak was reunited with his sister Anya. In 1948, Itzhak immigrated to Israel, and there he met and married Aviva. In 1957 they moved to Mexico and then to the United States in 1979. They had two sons. ....Read More

Lucie (Burian) Liebman

Lucie (Burian) Liebman was born in 1927 in Vienna, Austria. After the Nazi invasion in March 1938, Lucie, her brother Paul, and their parents moved to Czechoslovakia. Paul was sent to Scotland on the Kindertransport. Lucie joined the youth resistance movement, the Maccabeus, who conducted acts of sabotage. In 1941, her father was able to secure immigration papers to the United States. Lucie and her parents took a train to France, then to Spain, then a final harrowing train ride to Portugal. The Burians landed in Ellis Island, New York on May 1, 1941. Lucie married in 1950 and had five children. ....Read More

Mark Kupfer

Mark Kupfer was born in November 1929 in Nowy Korczyn, Poland- the second youngest of nine children. During the Nazi invasion, the Kupfer family hid in a bunker to avoid the round-ups, but they were eventually sent to the ghetto. Mark, with his brother and sister, escaped and were on the run for two years. They were caught in 1941. Mark's brother and sister were killed, and he was imprisoned, tortured then sent to concentration camps. He was liberated on a death march by the American Army on April 23, 1945. Mark immigrated to the United States in 1948. He married Rose Eisenberg, and they had four children. ....Read More

Neftali Frankel

Neftali Frankel was born on December 26, 1921 in Tarnow, Poland where he lived with his parents, sisters Gela and Tusia and brother Henrick until the Nazi invasion. The Frankel family was forced into the ghetto before being deported to Auschwitz where they were separated. Neftali was put into forced labor, and, toward the end of the war, he and his father were sent to labor camps. They were liberated from Bergen-Belsen by the British Army on April 15, 1945. After the war, Neftali immigrated to Mexico and married in 1947. He and his wife moved to El Paso, Texas in 2003. ....Read More

Olga (Steinberger) Bowman

Olga (Steinberger) Bowman was born on April 8, 1927 in Pacin, Hungary. She grew up in a Jewish home with her parents, older twin brothers and sister. In 1942, Olga left her family to go to school in Budapest. In 1944, she was forced into the Budapest ghetto. Along with hundreds of others, Olga was sent on a death march to Dachau then Ravensbruck and Oranienburg concentration camps for slave labor. Olga was liberated in May 1945 by the Soviet Army. One of the liberating soldiers became her husband. Learning Olga's entire family had perished, they immigrated to the United States in 1949 and had two sons. ....Read More

Sara (Rozen) Hauptman

Sara (Rozen) Hauptman was born on August 15, 1918 in Laskarzew, Poland but grew up in Brussels, Belgium with her parents, eight brothers, and two sisters. Sara married Nathan Hauptman in 1938 and had her son Guy in 1939. After the Nazis invaded Belgium, Nathan was arrested, and Sara sent Guy and her baby Monique into hiding with Christian families. Sara worked in the resistance until her arrest and deportation to Auschwitz. She was then sent to Dachau and was liberated by the American Army in 1945. Sara was reunited with Nathan and her children. They moved to Germany in 1947 then immigrated to the United States. ....Read More

Thelma Krugman

Thelma Krugman was born on February 14, 1927 in Sowina, Poland to Abraham and Faiga Krieger. Thelma had six sisters and one brother. In 1939, the Krieger family was taken from their farm but allowed to live outside the ghetto. During the round-ups, they escaped and hid in fields and the woods before finding non-Jewish farmers to take them in. Thelma and her younger sister lived in an attic for two years, until liberation. After the war, Thelma's parents and brother were killed by Poles. Thelma and her sisters immigrated to the United States. Thelma married Leonard Krugman, and they moved to El Paso in 1975. ....Read More

Tibor Schaechner

Tibor Schaechner was born in 1928 in Budapest, Hungary to Alexander and Sara Schaechner. In 1944, Hungary was occupied, and men were sent to forced labor. Tibor was assigned to the Shell Refinery where he narrowly escaped deportation to Auschwitz. Tibor, his mother, and younger sister were forced into the Budapest Ghetto. His sister was killed during the Soviet invasion in 1945. Tibor was liberated by the Soviet Army on January 17, 1945. He came to the United States in 1949 and married survivor Agnes Klein in 1956. They had three daughters. After Agnes' death, Tibor married Ann Goodman in 1999. ....Read More