Obituaries are updated regularly and archived on JN Online:
Courage And Leadership
Special to the Jewish News
olocaust survivor, busi-
nessman, loving hus-
band, father and grand-
father, Bernard Klein
will always be known as a strong
and courageous victor to those who
knew and loved him.
Mr. Klein, who lived in
Bloomfield Hills with his wife of 48
years, Agnes, died on Feb. 11, 2003,
at age 73, after a four-ye a r battle
Mr. Klein was born in Humenne,
Czechoslovakia. His mother and his
sister perished in the Holocaust. He
was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau,
where he was reunited with his
father, Irvin, and his older brother,
He was assigned to work in the
camp kitchen and used this oppor-
tunity to smuggle raw potatoes to
his father and brother to help keep
them alive. After the war, father and
sons found their way back to their
hometown of Humenne.
Vowing to always stay together,
the family went to Israel, where they
stayed until the late 1940s and then
moved to Montreal. While there,
the Kleins were reunited with the -
Gross family, who had been their
neighbors in Czechoslovakia.
After getting reacquainted with
childhood friend Agnes Gross, Mr.
Klein proposed to her after a three-
"Their love was like a growing,
radiant light — Bernie always
believed they were meant for each
other," said Rabbi Jonathan Berkun
of Congregation Shaarey Zedek in
Southfield, who spoke at the funer-
- "She was his lifelong sweetheart,"
said daughter, Susan Bruch.
For many years, Mr. Klein
returned to Montreal to lead the
Mr. Klein was both a founding
Gross family Passover seders, which
member and a board member of the
lasted far into the night.
Holocaust Memorial Center in West
Mr. Klein was a longtime member
Bloomfield. He recorded his
of Congregation B'nai Moshe in
Holocaust experiences with the
West Bloomfield, where he regularly HMC and with director Steven
attended services and served as the
Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah
synagogue's vice president
and chairman of its Israel
His story was also
"He was an ardent
recorded as part of the
Zionist, and his heart was
Voice-Vision project at
always in Israel," said
Rabbi Elliot Pachter of
B'nai Moshe, who also
professor and historian
eulogized Mr. Klein.
Dr. Sidney Bolkosky.
The strong bond Mr.
Klein formed with his
brother, Emery, of
about talking," said Dr.
Southfield, lasted through-
Bolkosky. "When he
out his life. For 33 years,
broke his silence, some
they were partners at
of his observations
Alaron Inc., an interna-
were profound, mov-
tional electronics company
ing, clear and thought-
which the brothers founded togeth-
ful. I think he lived much of his life
er in 1959. They shared a unique
that way, carefully caring for those
combination of business, family and he loved, remembering all the time,
even at his children's wedding, those
"We were together for 73 years,
who were lost."
through good times and bad," said
Despite the horror he endured
Emery Klein. "We were grateful
during the Holocaust, Mr.
for the years we were given
Klein took pride in telling his
after being liberated. We had a
children and grandchildren
successful business and wonder-
about what -he called "the
ful families, wives, children and
good life" in Czechoslovakia
grandchildren. We have a lot to Ho
mar prior to the war.
look back on."
"He always loved life and
realized how precious it was,"
said daughter Susan. "He val-
ued every day and every breath."
Always an active member of the
According to Susan, he loved the
Detroit Jewish community, Mr.
Detroit Jewish community, and
Klein took great pride in seeing
enjoyed taking part in Federation's
both of his children, Ronald and
"Super Sunday" campaign.
Susan, each win the Young
"He never wanted acknowledg-
Leadership Award, respectively, from ment for his help," she said. "He
the Jewish Federation of Metro-
was a mentsh in every sense of the
politan Detroit and the United
Jewish Federation of Metro West
Mr. Klein served on the board of
governors of the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit and as a
chairman of the Mercantile Division
of the Allied Jewish Campaign. A
longtime member of the Jewish
Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit's Board of Directors, Mr.
Klein also served as vice president
and was elected distinguished serv-
He was also a Hadassah associate
and a member of the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Mr. Klein's grandchildren were the
light of his life, and he took great
pleasure in spending time with
them: carpooling, babysitting, and
attending all of their various con-
certs and recitals.
"He taught all of us to live, to
love life and to die with dignity,"
said Susan. "And we learned the
most valuable lesson of all from him
in the last four years — to never
"The world will not be the same
without him," said Emery Klein.
Mr. Klein is survived by his wife,
Agnes Klein; son and daughter-in-
law, Ronald and Stacy Klein of
Bloomfield Hills; daughter and son-
in-law, Susan and Howard Bruch of
North Caldwell, N.J.; grandchil-
dren, Jolie, Zachary and Max
Bruch, Katie and Carly Klein;
brother and sister-in-law, Emery
and Diane Klein of Southfield;
brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law,
Judy and Stanley Cadloff of
Montreal, Lou and Joan Gross of
Scottsdale, Ariz., and Rene Mandel
of San Diego, Calif.
Contributions many be made to
the Bernard Klein Family Fund at
the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit, 6600 W.
Maple, West Bloomfield, MI 48322,
or to a charity of one's choice.
Interment was at Oakview
Cemetery with arrangements by
Hebrew Memorial Chapel. El
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