On April 28, Holocaust Remembrance Day, we were honored to host a screening of the film Who Will Write Our History, followed by a live virtual presentation from Holocaust survivor, George Elbaum. The program sold out, so not everyone who was interested was able to hear the presentation. Above is a link to all but the first four minutes of that presentation. During that time, he briefly went through the timeline of his early life. As that section the presentation is missing, we’ve included a timeline of his biography below.
If you would like more information abut George Elbaum, consider reading his books, Neither Yesterdays Nor Tomorrows: Vignettes of a Holocaust Childhood (2010) or Yesterdays Revisited (2014). Free access to his books is provided at scribd.com. Also check out his Weblog at: neitheryesterdays.com.
Special thanks to the Institute of Holocaust Education for connecting us with Dr. Elbaum.
George J. Elbaum Biography
1939 – Hitler invades Poland. I am 1 year old with an extended family of 12. Within three years everyone has perished in the Holocaust except my mother and me.
1942 – We escape from the Warsaw ghetto and my mother places me with a series of Polish Catholic families who raise me for the next 3 years.
1945 – The war ends. I am reunited with my mother and she informs me that I am Jewish. I cry.
1947 – Fearing another Holocaust, my mother sends me with a group of children to Palestine, but a broken leg in France sends me back to Warsaw.
1949 – My mother and I come to America. I am 11 and bewildered by the new culture. Gradually I shed my accent and things European and absorb the mentality that defines America.
1955-1973 – After high school in Oregon, I attend MIT (BS, MS, and PhD in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Nuclear Engineering) and work in the aerospace industry.
1973-1997 – On a fluke, I fly to Moscow and with 2 colleagues begin representing American firms in the USSR, selling industrial equipment and instrumentation. When the USSR dissolves, I launch Reebok Russia to sell athletic shoes and clothing to fashion-seeking Russians.
1997-2009 – After 150 trips to Moscow, I quit international trade and turn to real estate investing and development in the US.
2009 – For 60 years I keep a safe emotional distance from my Holocaust memories and my past. Then a film “Paper Clips” and the tears of Tennessee middle school teachers and students move me to record my memories. I recognize that we who survived the Holocaust have a responsibility to tell our stories to give hope to the slogan “Never again.”