AP

Holocaust survivor, author Gerda Weissmann Klein dies at 97

Apr 15, 2022, 1:36 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2022, 8:05 am

PHOENIX (AP) — Gerda Weissmann Klein, a Holocaust survivor who wrote about her ordeal and went on to receive a presidential medal of freedom, will be remembered at a memorial May 1 after her death this month.

Klein died April 3 in Phoenix, where she had lived since 1985. She was 97. Her granddaughter Alysa Cooper confirmed the death but did not give a cause.

Klein was born May 8, 1924, to Helene and Julius Weissmann in Bielsko, Poland.

She was a teenager when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and the family was forced to live in the basement of their home for three years. Klein’s parents were later deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp and she never saw them or her brother again.

Klein spent the next three years in Nazi camps. She met her future husband, Army Lt. Kurt Klein, when American soldiers liberated her and others from an abandoned bicycle factory in Volary, Czechoslovakia, on May 7, 1945, the eve of her 21st birthday.

At the time, she weighed just 68 pounds (30.8 kg) and her hair was prematurely gray.

Married in Paris on June 18, 1946, the couple started a new life in Buffalo, New York, and raised three children: Vivian, Leslie and James.

Klein described her wartime experiences in her memoir “All But My Life,” which has been widely used in high school and college curricula.

President Bill Clinton appointed Klein to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in 1997, and President Barack Obama awarded her with the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Last year she was inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame.

In addition to her children, she is survived by eight grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

A private burial was held.

Her family plans a virtual celebration of her life May 1 at noon PT. Details will be announced through Citizenship Counts, a nonprofit organization she founded with Cooper, her granddaughter.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

1 day ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

1 day ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Trial of a southern Arizona rancher charged in fatal shooting of unarmed migrant goes to the jury

Closing arguments were made against a southern Arizona rancher accused of shooting an undocumented migrant on his land to death on Thursday.

2 days ago

Donald Trump's hush money trial: 12 jurors selected...

Associated Press

Although 12 jurors were picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial, selection of alternates is ongoing

A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial. The proceedings are close to opening statements.

2 days ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

3 days ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Holocaust survivor, author Gerda Weissmann Klein dies at 97