(Produced by Peter Flax for the Hollywood Reporter; via Pam Green.)
70 years ago, the Holocaust ended. In the entertainment industry, only 11 remain in Hollywood. These are their stories.
Harvey was as close to death as a human being can be. He already had survived a stint at Auschwitz, months of forced labor, barefoot death marches, and then, early in 1945, he and other prisoners were crammed into a frigid cattle car for transport from Poland to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. He lost consciousness and woke up five days later in the barracks, barely able to move. There, he was told that someone had pulled his body out of a pile of corpses stacked by Buchenwald’s crematorium. “I was frozen; they thought I was dead,” he recalls. “I was the age of 21. I weighed 72 pounds.”
Now 91, he harbors no hatred for the Germans. “My humble explanation for all the tragedies and the bad people who want just to kill is that maybe there have to be some bad things in order to appreciate all the good things that this world gives you,” says Harvey, who went on to be a cosmetologist to the stars, working in New York before coming to Los Angeles in 1950. He owned two salons, including the Continental House of Beauty in Beverly Hills, doing hair for Judy Garland, Mary Martin, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a young Liza Minnelli.
One of six children, Harvey grew up in a winegrowing region in Czechoslovakia. Life was not easy — his father was always ill, his mother supported the family as a dressmaker and Harvey started working at a vineyard when he was 10. Two years later, Harvey heard Hitler on the radio: “He said, ‘I’m going to kill every Jew in this world.’ ”