Henny was born in 1926 in Stuttgart, Germany to Rose and Morris Katz. Before the war, Henny had a happy childhood.
Hitler’s rise to power changed everything. In 1933 laws and restrictions against Jews set in. Henny’s gentile friends became cruel. An anti-Semitic newspaper was prominently displayed in kiosks. Despite these changes, her parents were not ready to leave Germany and their familiar life there. Additionally, it was difficult to find a place to go.
In 1938 the Gestapo came to Henny’s home and took her father. They took him to a concentration camp. The Gestapo let Mr. Katz leave for a short time to sign the family’s store over to them. Mr. Katz used this opportunity to flee for Switzerland, with no choice but to leave his family behind. Henny’s brother, Julius, left for England. Henny was supposed to go there also but then the war began.
Kristallnacht is seared in Henny’s memory. Her Synagogue, school, and her father’s store were destroyed. This solidified the need for them to leave. Her mother’s visa came through and she had no choice but to leave Henny behind with family friends. After the family friends left the country, 13 year-old Henny was alone. A Jewish agency found her a small room and her parents sent her money every few months.
Fortunately, Henny’s parents obtained a visa to the Unites States and Henny eventually did as well. After a long and difficult journey, the family made it to New York. Henny later married and had three sons.