Henry Schuster (1926-2014), a child survivor of the Holocaust and 20-year resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, established the Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada in 1995 with his wife Anita. He served as President Emeritus of the Survivors Group, and also as Jewish Lay Leader for Nellis Air Force Base. Schuster’s escape from Nazi persecution was aided by the French humanitarian organization Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants, and he was instrumental in the planning a 50th anniversary reunion for “OSE children” that was attended by 170 survivors from around the world. His mother and one of his sisters were killed in the Holocaust, but his other sister, Betty Kale, survived Bergen-Belsen and later moved to the United States. In 2010 he published his memoir, Abraham’s Son: The Making of an American.
Schuster was born on March 18 in Sterbfritz, Kreis Schlüchtern, Germany in 1926. After his father’s death in 1936, his mother placed him in a Jewish orphanage in Frankfurt. Because of Nazi persecution, Schuster left Germany in 1939 with a children’s transport. He was sent first to Paris, then to the French countryside, and finally to live with relatives in the United States in 1941. He arrived in Shreveport, Louisiana at age 15 with no knowledge of English, but was able to finish high school in three years with honors. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1944 to 1946, and was sent back to Germany in 1945 as part of the Occupation Forces. After his discharge, he studied at Manhattan Technical Institute. In 1948 he married Anita Kleiman, with whom he had four children. The family lived in Peoria, Illinois for twenty years, where Henry and Anita were active in the Jewish community as adult advisors for the Synagogue Youth Group. Henry also served on the Board of Directors for the Agudas Achim Synagogue and was the chairman of the building committee. In 1993 the Schusters retired to Las Vegas where Henry passed away on May 26, 2014.
Schuster, Anita and Henry. Interview, 2011. OH-01647. Transcript. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.View Related Items View Collection Guide View Oral History Listen to Audio Clip