In Memory of Gunter Hauer
We at the Holocaust Awareness Museum mourn the passing of our good friend and Holocaust Survivor Gunter Hauer. Along with his parents, Gunter was able to escape Germany and get to Shanghai on a boat that left the day before World War II began. He lived and worked there until the end of the war. He lost both parents to natural causes in Shanghai but met and married the love of his life.
After the war, they came to America to start a new and successful life that included raising three wonderful children and becoming a top salesperson for Atlantic Records.
Three years before the Hauers fled Germany, they volunteered to house a young woman associated with one of the visiting 1936 Olympic teams. Gunter got a ticket from her to the Stadium on the third day. He brought his binoculars and got to watch Jesse Owens win his gold medal in the long jump and Hitler’s shameful exit during the presentation.
Several years ago he joined our team of Holocaust speakers and regaled thousands of students with his amazing story of survival and success. Gunter was a humble hero. He went out of his way to tell people that he was just telling his story and that it was no big deal. Gunter was wrong about that. It was a big deal, and the fact that he devoted his time, until he was over 100 years old, to educate young people about what happened to him, his family and his friends because of unbridled and evil hatred was important. We will miss him, and we will honor his life and memory by continuing to tell his story.
Facilitator Steve Korsin says of Gunter: “For 5 or 6 years I had the honor of driving and facilitating for Gunter Hauer. He felt it was his mission to speak to young people about his life growing up in Berlin, Germany. Gunter was born in the year 1919 and would describe how life slowly changed for the worse for Jews after Hitler and the Nazis came into power in 1933.
Jews at first could not sit on a park bench. As new restrictions were put into place, life became more and more severe. Gunter’s father fought for Germany in World War I and was a decorated combat veteran and thought his family would be protected. After Gunter was kicked out of school for being Jewish it became clear to his father that the family had to leave Germany while they could.
I was amazed how well Gunter could relate to young people. You could hear a pin drop while Gunter was speaking. At the conclusion of his presentation he would be asked to sign autographs and to shake hands and to take selfies.” Imagine Gunter standing in front of a class full of eager young people and reminiscing about watching Jesse Owens and then fleeing for his life just a few years later. Gunter–we will tell your story for years and decades to come. The world needs to hear it!