Gerald Glaser, born Gerhard Glaser in Berlin in 1925, was eight years old when Hitler came to power. His father, a physician, had been decorated for his service in the German army during World War I.
Gerry experienced antisemitism in his German school and later had to transfer to a Jewish school. Receiving a warning of his imminent arrest during Kristallnacht, his father decided that he and Gerry should spend the evening in a movie theatre to escape the roundup of Jews being sent to German concentration camps.
Shortly thereafter, the Glasers were able to gain entry into the United States, having been able to locate some distant relatives who agreed to sponsor them. Tragically, Gerry's mother was too ill to travel and had to remain behind under the care of her brother, a physician at the Berlin Jewish Hospital.
Gerry and his father left Germany August 15, 1939, first traveling to England. Gerry stayed with family, but his father was held on the Isle of Man as "an enemy alien."
The following August, they traveled to the U.S. Gerry did not learn of his mother's fate until he returned to Germany after the war as a U.S. army medic. She had been deported in 1943 to the Terezin Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia and later sent to Auschwitz, where she died. Upon returning to the U.S., Gerry attended medical school at the University of Rochester and remained to enter private practice. Over the years Gerry has often shared his experiences as a holocaust survivor with school children in the Rochester area.
Biography written by: Barbara Appelbaum