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November 07, 2013 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-11-07

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metro >> on the cover

Broken Glass from page 8

Luckily, she was released three hours later.
In spring 1939, he and his parents were
allowed to leave Austria. Growe's older
brother, Peter, had escaped to England on
the Kindertransport and later lived on a
kibbutz near Haifa.
The Grosz family made the 30-day voy-
age to Shanghai, joining Growe's Uncle
Conrad Schwarz. "You didn't need papers
[to immigrate to China]. We could bring
$10 each, and even a little jewelry:' Growe
The family arrived in Detroit in 1948.
Stella's brother, Paul Selby (last name
changed) had come 10 years earlier.
After serving in the Korean War, Growe
studied a year at Wayne University. He
opened a women's apparel store, Fashion
Center, on 12th Street in Detroit, later mov-
ing to Warren. He operated in Ferndale
from 1973 until his retirement in 2005.
A former B'nai B'rith vice president,
Growe belongs to the Vienna Club and
does aerobic exercise twice a week at the
Birmingham YMCA. He and his wife
Rachel (Wohl) have four children, three
grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Alfred Zydower,
83, of Madison
Born Nov. 15, 1929,
Alfred Zydower grew up
in Furstenwalde, 20 miles
outside Berlin. He and
his parents, Hugo and
Erna (Plack), younger
sister Anna and Aunt
Rosalie lived in the build-
ing Erna inherited. Hugo traded horses and
animal fur pelts.
The town had "20 Jewish families at the
time of Kristallnacht, and maybe 40-50
families had left earlier; Zydower said.
The morning of Nov. 10, someone at the
corner bakery "told my mother there was
a fire in the chapel at the Jewish cemetery,"
Zydower said. Mentioning the caretaker
who lived with his family in the synagogue,
the non-Jew said, "'They have been arrested
already, and you will be, too."'
At Zydower's school, where "the children
knew I was not Catholic:' some of his class-
mates talked about the police chasing them
the night before.
"I asked my teacher if I can go home. She
said, 'But you are safe now:" but allowed
him to leave.
When the Gestapo showed up to arrest
Hugo, "Mother wanted to give him a clean
shirt, but they said he would be coming
back:' Zydower said.
A Nazi caretaker was installed at their
building, and now "people wouldn't pay us
rent anymore; they paid the Nazi caretaker:'
Zydower said. "He told my mother when
my father came home, we'd have to leave.
We didn't know where Dad was, and we
needed money. Mother sold our porcelain
dishes, but only a few pieces at a time

10 November 7 • 2013


Commemorating Kristallnacht

• Congregation T'chiyah in Oak Park will observe the 75th anniversary of
Kristallnacht at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. Alvin and Harriet Saperstein will lead
the service; personal reflections by Prof. Alfred Schwarz. Noon Kiddush.
tichiyahorg@gmail.com , (248) 542-0900.

• The book From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman
(Excelsior Editions). Harry Rosenfeld, Metropolitan editor at the Washington Post
during Watergate, writes about experiencing Kristallnacht in his native Berlin.

• Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home. Ethan Bensinger's documentary film
is focused on six survivors of the Holocaust and Kristallnacht living at the
Selfhelp Home in Chicago. More than 1,000 victims of Nazi persecution have
received services and shelter at the residential community. Check local list-
ings for show times on public television station WTVS (Channel 56).

Zydower also watched his mother sell his
very expensive toys, including an electric
railroad and tricycle. A soldier bought his
rocking horse that looked like a real foal
for 10 marks, just a fraction of what it
was worth. "That money lasted only a few
weeks:' he recalled.
Released in January 1939 from
Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Hugo
did slave labor in the town. "He had to
report to the Gestapo at 6 each evening and
say: 'The Jew is still here' Zydower said.
"Sometimes I'd go with him:'
On May 1, 1939, the Zydowers were
evicted and moved to another family's "Jew
house" nearby, packed with mothers and
The Zydowers planned to leave Germany
in mid-September, "but we got stuck
there when the war broke out on Sept. 1,"
Zydower said.
The next year, they joined family
already in Shanghai. Upon arriving in San
Francisco in 1948, the Joint Distribution
Committee arranged for their resettlement
in Detroit. His father became a butcher.
Zydower worked at Hudson Motor Car
Company, Dodge Main and finally as a Fred
Sanders candy maker for 27 years.
Zydower, whose hobby is classic films,
never married. "I took care of my mother,
who died in Madison Heights at age 99 and
3 months and 3 days:' His father died in
Detroit in 1962; he was 62.
Anna Lindemann of Oak Park, Zydower's
sister, has two daughters, six grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren.
"She and the children are very good to
me he said.

Martin Lowenberg,
85, of Southfield
A speaker at the HMC,
Martin Lowenberg,
born in 1928, was one
of seven children of
Klara (Rothschild)
and Sally Lowenberg.
They lived in the vil-
lage of Schenklengsfeld,
Germany, home to Jewish families since the

early 17th century. Sally sold products to
farmers at Lowenberg Feed & Seed Supply,
founded by his grandfather, Osher.
"We had a good living before Nazis
burned down our house and business in
1933 — they destroyed everything; Martin
Lowenberg said. While rebuilding, kind
neighbors gave them shelter and food.
His oldest siblings were continually
harassed and humiliated before leaving in
1934 for a kibbutz in Palestine. The same
year, the rest of the family moved into a new
house and Klara gave birth to twin boys,
Fritz and Kurt.
Life got worse for the Lowenbergs in
1934-35. His father gave up the business
because his non-Jewish customers got
threats not to buy from him.
Lowenberg was in eighth grade when his
teacher brought the entire school together to
celebrate Hitler's birthday on April 20, 1936.
"I was accosted by the older boys; they
spit in my face and beat me," he said.
Lowenberg's teacher grabbed him off the
floor and pushed him onto a board covered
with nails.
"That actually happened," he said. "The
teacher accused me of sticking out my
tongue at Hitler's picture hanging on the
classroom wall and, therefore, he wanted to
punish me. It was my last day of German
public school in my hometown:'
Lowenberg's parents sent him to a Jewish
boarding school, Bad Nauheim. Although
the children were treated well, they were
homesick "The hate in Germany was so
prevalent ... yet, we still felt safe at home
he said.
In 1938, Lowenberg's parents were forced
to sell their home "for the lowest price we
could get. We had to pay a 'Jew tax' on top of
it:' he said.
The family moved 60 miles away to Fulda,
which had a Jewish school and synagogue.
They lived modestly in a tiny apartment.
When Lowenberg came home that sum-
mer, he joined his parents, the twins and his
sister, Eva.
Then came Kristallnacht.
"On Nov. 9, 1938, while I was sitting in
the classroom, learning like any other day,

stones and rocks came through the win-
dows. The glass was shattered. Three of my
fellow classmates were injured very badly,
but you couldn't call an ambulance. The
teacher dismissed the class. The synagogue
next door was in flames. Smoke was coming
out of the synagogue.
"We were so scared all day lone
Lowenberg said. "Outside our windows, we
saw Jewish people being dragged from their
homes and being beaten in the street. You
could see blood in the street
"The synagogue was completely destroyed
and the school was ransacked. The fire
department was told not to touch the burn-
ing synagogue and other Jewish properties.
The next morning, we heard the windows of
shops being destroyed and heard screaming
in the middle of the street. The crowds were
After his family returned to their apart-
ment from a neighbor's, Lowenberg said,
"We heard heavy footsteps coming up
the stairs and pounding on our door. My
father answered the door; he tried to push
me back. A Nazi soldier and a policeman
asked my father to come with them. He
refused, said he was a German officer in
the First World War and picked up the
Iron Cross he had earned for bravery. But
he had no choice but to go with them:'
Sally and other men in their community
were taken to Buchenwald German con-
centration camp.
"Fortunately, he was released after one
month, whereas others did not come back
for a year and some never returned to their
families:' Lowenberg said.
His parents and the twins, age 9, per-
ished at the Auschwitz death camp in
1943, but he and Eva survived and entered
the U.S. three years later. In the 1950s,
their siblings Berta and Hans, who had
gone to Palestine, joined them. Another
sister, Margot, who escaped Germany in
1937 is 93 and residing in California.
Lowenberg lived in New York, Akron,
Grand Rapids and Dayton before his St.
Louis-based company brought him to
Detroit in 1964 as its vice president of
sales for institutional textiles.
"After I had to retire due to health
reasons, I became involved with mak-
ing Judaica," said Lowenberg, who is an
accomplished metal artist.
He and his wife Carol (Warshay), origi-
nally from Cincinnati, have three daugh-
ters, 14 grandchildren, one great-grand-
daughter and another on the way.

Photos and biographical details pertaining
to interviewees Martin Lowenberg, Alfred
Zydower and Charles Growe can be accessed

at "Portraits of Honor: Our Michigan Holocaust
Survivors," an interactive exhibit at the HMC,
and also online at www.portraitsofhonor.org .

Portraits of Honor was originated by Charles
Silow, Ph.D., director of Program for Holocaust
Survivors and Families, a service of Jewish
Senior Life.

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