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Jonathan Perlman, founder of Tradition Senior Living in Houston & Dallas, TX.

“My family’s home was destroyed in 1938 during Kristallnacht. Just days after that, my father and I were deported to Buchenwald.”

Heinz Wallach

If one needs hope—and so many of us do during this time of COVID-19—one need look no further than at the life of Heinz Wallach, a Holocaust survivor who just turned 100.  His recent birthday celebration at The Tradition-Prestonwood Independent Living Community, where he has lived for several years, transcended the limitations of today’s period of restraint.  Masked and seated in front of the Community, Heinz looked on as over 30 groups of people drove by and honked their horns, displayed balloons and signs—and poured out love. 

CBS Channel 11 News and People Magazine covered the event, which was organized by his daughter Tamar Leventhal and highlighted by The Dallas Holocaust Museum.

In speaking of his life, Heinz displays a calm demeanor, even when relating the most difficult things.  “My family’s home was destroyed in 1938 during Kristallnacht,” he says of the night when Nazis in Germany destroyed Jewish homes and businesses—and killed many Jewish people. “Just days after that, my father and I were deported to Buchenwald.”    

Heinz doesn’t elaborate about his time there.  “He really doesn’t talk about the atrocities in the concentration camp,” says Tamar.  Heinz’s father was released after a week, because he had been a World War I decorated hero, but Heinz remained in Buchenwald for two months.  That was early in the war, when Germany was trying to deport Jews from the country.  His father arranged for a ticket for Heinz to go to New York, so Heinz was released from the camp and had to report to the Gestapo until he left. But he was unable to obtain a visa to the United States or any other country, and it was at that point that Heinz realized he would be imprisoned again, so he escaped from Germany, joining a Zionist movement. 

If one needs hope—and so many of us do during this time of COVID-19—one need look no further than at the life of Heinz Wallach, a Holocaust survivor who just turned 100.  His recent birthday celebration at The Tradition-Prestonwood Independent Living Community, where he has lived for several years, transcended the limitations of today’s period of restraint.  Masked and seated in front of the Community, Heinz looked on as over 30 groups of people drove by and honked their horns, displayed balloons and signs—and poured out love. 

CBS Channel 11 News and People Magazine covered the event, which was organized by his daughter Tamar Leventhal and highlighted by The Dallas Holocaust Museum.

In speaking of his life, Heinz displays a calm demeanor, even when relating the most difficult things.  “My family’s home was destroyed in 1938 during Kristallnacht,” he says of the night when Nazis in Germany destroyed Jewish homes and businesses—and killed many Jewish people. “Just days after that, my father and I were deported to Buchenwald.”    

“My family’s home was destroyed in 1938 during Kristallnacht. Just days after that, my father and I were deported to Buchenwald.”

Heinz Wallach

Heinz doesn’t elaborate about his time there.  “He really doesn’t talk about the atrocities in the concentration camp,” says Tamar.  Heinz’s father was released after a week, because he had been a World War I decorated hero, but Heinz remained in Buchenwald for two months.  That was early in the war, when Germany was trying to deport Jews from the country.  His father arranged for a ticket for Heinz to go to New York, so Heinz was released from the camp and had to report to the Gestapo until he left. But he was unable to obtain a visa to the United States or any other country, and it was at that point that Heinz realized he would be imprisoned again, so he escaped from Germany, joining a Zionist movement. 

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“It’s hard to imagine my father, going through so much hardship, not only in Germany, but also during the wars in Israel, and through it all never losing his love for humanity and feelings of hope.”     

Tamar Leventhal, Daughter of Heinz Wallach   

Heinz would eventually get to Palestine, where he was instrumental in Israel’s becoming an independent nation in 1948.  He then became an Israeli military officer, fighting in five wars to protect Israel, his real “Homeland,” as he says.

At 100, Heinz is full of dates, facts—and history.  Referring to Hitler’s “sick mind,” Heinz relates the Fuhrer’s conception in 1941 of the “final solution,” the plan to send six million Jews to the death camps.  Eventually, Heinz’s mother, father (war hero notwithstanding), and sister Liesel, aged 15, would all be murdered in a concentration camp.

In the middle of these years of turmoil and heartbreak, a beautiful thing happened. “The height of my life was September 28, 1944, when I married my wife, Doris.  We had two daughters, Tamar and Ruth.”  He and his wife met in Haifa in Israel, and they were married for 72 years until his beloved wife passed away in 2016.  Heinz has four grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren.

wallach wedding

Today, Heinz’s life is enriched by the love of so many—family, friends, and the staff where he lives. “The Tradition has done a beautiful job of taking care of my father,” said Tamar. When asked to describe her father, she said, “He is the most gentle, loving, caring and compassionate man. It’s hard to imagine my father, going through so much hardship, not only in Germany, but also during the wars in Israel, and through it all never losing his love for humanity and feelings of hope.”     

Heinz Wallach finally answers the question everyone wants to know—what is the secret to his longevity?  He simply points upward and says, “It must be the Almighty.”

Linda Faulkner Johnston—Tradition Senior Living

Heinz would eventually get to Palestine, where he was instrumental in Israel’s becoming an independent nation in 1948.  He then became an Israeli military officer, fighting in five wars to protect Israel, his real “Homeland,” as he says.

At 100, Heinz is full of dates, facts—and history.  Referring to Hitler’s “sick mind,” Heinz relates the Fuhrer’s conception in 1941 of the “final solution,” the plan to send six million Jews to the death camps.  Eventually, Heinz’s mother, father (war hero notwithstanding), and sister Liesel, aged 15, would all be murdered in a concentration camp.

In the middle of these years of turmoil and heartbreak, a beautiful thing happened. “The height of my life was September 28, 1944, when I married my wife, Doris.  We had two daughters, Tamar and Ruth.”  He and his wife met in Haifa in Israel, and they were married for 72 years until his beloved wife passed away in 2016.  Heinz has four grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren.

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Today, Heinz’s life is enriched by the love of so many—family, friends, and the staff where he lives. “The Tradition has done a beautiful job of taking care of my father,” said Tamar. When asked to describe her father, she said, “He is the most gentle, loving, caring and compassionate man. It’s hard to imagine my father, going through so much hardship, not only in Germany, but also during the wars in Israel, and through it all never losing his love for humanity and feelings of hope.”     

Heinz Wallach finally answers the question everyone wants to know—what is the secret to his longevity?  He simply points upward and says, “It must be the Almighty.”

Linda Faulkner Johnston—Tradition Senior Living

“It’s hard to imagine my father, going through so much hardship, not only in Germany, but also during the wars in Israel, and through it all never losing his love for humanity and feelings of hope.”     

Tamar Leventhal, Daughter of Heinz Wallach

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