Survivor STORY

Arthur Strauss was born in Bad Mergentheim, Germany in 1924. Arthur's father owned his own clothing business and his mother and her sister operated a small kosher restaurant.

Arthur's very first memory is of Nazi Storm Troopers arresting and beating a Jewish man in 1933. His parent began making plans at that time to leave Germany and applied for visas to France, Holland, and the United States. They attempted to flee to Holland, but were captured by border police and eventually sent back home.

During Kristallnacht, the Strauss family was hidden by a non-Jewish family in their cellar. Arthur's father was arrested in the wake of Kristallnacht, but was released when he was able to show that the family was planning on emigrating from Germany. Soon after, the Strauss family was permitted to travel to Amsterdam, where they stayed for a year until the paperwork was finalized allowing them to emigrate to America. They arrived in New Jersey on December 2nd, 1939 and made a new home in New York.

In 1944, Arthur joined the United States Army and was sent overseas, eventually ending up back in Germany, acting as a translator. After the war, he assisted in finding housing for Displaced Persons.

Arthur returned home in 1945 and the next year married his wife, Liesl Vorchheimer, whom he had met on his first furlough from the army. The couple was married for 56 years until Mrs. Strauss' death in 2002.

Arthur went to work first at his father's factory, then used the GI Bill to open a butcher shop. They had their first child, Larry, in 1953 and their second, Shirley, in 1957. In 1968, the Strauss fmaily moved to Atlanta, where Arthur opened Arthur's Kosher Meats. His son, Larry, remembers that whether someone was new to town or sick at home, Mr. Strauss would send something over. Arthur passed away in 2006 at the age of 82.

Human Spirit and Warmth
We lived in a small apartment building. And one day I was home and somebody came to the door. There were always people coming collecting for money. And this didn't, my mother gave the woman a dollar. So I said, "Mom, why, what do you call it, why are you so generous, I mean for us, for yourself, for everybody, you turn every dollar over six times, you hardly spend a penny." She gave me an answer. She said, "You know, that could be me on the other side of the door." So you have to think of it that way. That's, and the same thing my father, he gave me an answer. He had really problems getting a job. So one day somebody asked him, he said, "Why don't you work, it's so much easier if you work on shabbat. You can get a job much easier. He said, "I did not come to the United States to work on shabbat."

To Germany as a Soldier

Once we got into Germany we were looking for high-ranking SS officers. We wanted to find out where they were at. Usually we found out where they were. You know, the, let's say we, I was interviewing a prisoner, ok? I did it in a different way. I had a interpreter with me who did the actual interpreting, who was a American who came from Milwaukee with German parents. He spoke broken German. And I've watched the prisoners while they were being brought in. I was playing guard. I was playing just guard. I played, how would I say it, deaf, dumb and stupid. Didn't hear anything, didn't know anything. I talked, what do you call it, I just listened. I watched the Germans look at each other and called the interpreter, "Doesn't know what he's doing, you know, we can put anything over on him." And then later on I picked out the ones, the troopers that I wanted. The, I picked out the ones I wanted to interview and I started to talk in clear German and they would tell me anything I wanted to hear.

Making a Living

In those days stores were smaller. It was more one on one. You waited on a customer, you took care of him. You know, it was more, and I like, what do you call it, I like taking care of customers. And I was a good salesman and people liked, what do you call it, and people liked, what do you call it, liked being waited on by me. I've always, and I came here and I opened a meat business here and it's, I liked it. From the first day, was a little difficult in the beginning to start with help with everything. And my wife really, I mean, she worked with me like, we put each other through the paces. I mean, we worked hard.

Arthur Strauss