He was born Wolf Himmelfarb ... June 19, 1927 and died March 16, 2003.
William Himmelfarb was the eldest of three children born to Yiddish speaking, religious Jewish parents in Koprzewnica, a small town in southern Poland. His father ran a grocery store where his mother would help out on Thursdays. The store was located in the house of William's grandmother and William, his brother Izik and sister Chana would play in a large yard in the back.
From an interview to the holocaust museum:
"I started attending school a year late, at 8 so that my younger brother and I could share the same books. In the third grade, Jewish and non-Jewish families were separated. I finished only four grades before the Germans invaded in September 1939. I was on the street when German troops entered our town. They emptied all the homes and had everyone assemble in the central square. After about five hours the let everyone go home."
"In February 1942 Koprzewnica's Jews were forced to move into a ghetto. That year, just before my 15th birthday, the Germans sent me to work at a munitions factory in Skarzysko. I, who had never seen electricity before, had to operate a fast moving machine. My supervisor in Camp A, an elderly German who walked with a cane, shot any prisoner who looked tired. He would address his dog as a person and a prisoner as a dog. Pointing to a prisoner, he would say to the dog, "'Man, Take this dog.' "
William was subsequently deported to camps Czestochowas, Buchenwald and Schlieben before being liberated in Theresienstadt in May 1945.
August 14, 1945, he flew to Manchester, England where he learned to be a tailor. He had an uncle in the US who, in 1950, invited him over. He took jobs as a tailor until he joined the army on March 5, 1951, to March 5, 1953, where he served in Massachussetts and upstate New York. On December 16, 1951, he married Ruth Auerbacher.
After the war he took several different jobs. He worked as a cloth cutter for "White Swan" a nurse uniform manufacturor and later on became a pocket book salesman.
From 1955 to 1962 he ran a candy store in the Bronx, NY, where he lived. From 1962 to 1968 he worked as a foreman for American Portfolio. He left there to be a foreman at Pre Pack for a year and returned to American Portfolio from 1970 to 1972. From 1972 to 1998 he worked at Globe Specialties as a foreman.
He had a strong religious faith and was very family oriented. He served as the president and cantor of Kingsbridge Heights Jewish Center from 1988 to 2002. When the building was sold in 1999 he moved the entire congregation to another location in the nearby Kitay house.
He had 2 children: Stuart born March 24, 1956, and Jo Ann born April 11, 1957. Stuart has a son, Max, born November 27, 2001, and Jo Ann has a son Alex born October 27, 1990, and daughter Rachel born March 22, 1993.