Philipp Wimmer

"There should be peace for the whole world and for Israel. Go on with life and make the best that you can."

Name at birth
Fishel Wimmer
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Wieliczka, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Yaakov Wimmer, worked in the building materials business
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Sara Klein, homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and me
How many in entire extended family?
about 20
Who survived the Holocaust?
Me and three cousins
Only 8 % of the population of Wieliczka was Jewish.  Up until 1917, Jews weren’t allowed to live there.  My grandfather built the only synagogue in Wieliczka.  I ended up going to a Jewish school in Krakow, about seven kilometers from Wieliczka.  
My mother died when I was only seven years old.  My mother was from Vienna.  My father ran away from the Russians and ended up in Vienna where he met my mother.  After marrying, they both came back to Poland in 1919.  My father worked in the building materials business in Wieliczka, Poland.  The business was started by my grandfather.  
My father was killed in 1941 on Rosh Hashanah in Krakow.  He was taken to the woods and shot along with several hundred other Jews.  I only found out about this after the war from relatives living in Israel.
When I arrived in Budzyn, the Nazis asked a group of us if we could speak German and typed.  I raised my hand and to let them know that I could.  As a result, I was the only Polish Jew that went to the factory to work along with twelve German Jews. 
From Budzyn, I was then taken to Flossenburg concentration camp where the Germans built planes.  I worked as a timekeeper from 6:00 AM to 7:00 pm everyday in the office.  In 1945, I was liberated from Flossenburg by the Swedish Red Cross and taken to Sweden along with 300 other people.    
In Sweden that I met and married my wife, Eva Lewkowicz.  We had three children, Jack, Rose and Shirley.  Jack and Rose were born in Sweden; Shirley was born in the United States.
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where did you go after being liberated?
Liberated by the Swedish Red Cross and taken to Sweden
When did you come to the United States?
May 1954
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
After about nine months in Boston we then moved to Detroit because my wife’s sisters and brother lived there.
Occupation after the war
In Poland, I was a bookkeeper. In the United States I was a foreman at a wholesale paper products company.
When and where were you married?
1946 in Sweden. We had a few families from the Jewish community in Sweden that did so much for us. They helped make our wedding; we have a picture of our wedding.
Eva Lewkowicz, homemaker
Jack, Rose and Shirley (who passed away January 29, 1989)
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was a positive thinker.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
There should be peace for the whole world and for Israel. Go on with life and make the best that you can.
Interview date:

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