Alvin L. Abrams was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924. He entered the U.S. Army at the age of eighteen in early 1943 and participated in the Normandy landings with the 229th Field Artillery Battalion, 28th Infantry ‘Keystone’ Division. He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and was transited first to the STALAG 9B prisoner of war camp. In early February 1945 Sergeant Abrams, along with 300 other Jewish prisoners of war, was segregated and sent to Berga-am-Elster, a satellite of the Buchenwald concentration camp. There he was part of a forced-labor group along with prisoners from other camps, digging tunnels by hand through mountain rock for underground factories. He was liberated in late April 1945 and after many months of recovery, was discharged from military service. He founded a successful construction business in New Jersey, and is still active in the company today.
Buchenwald was established in July 1937. It became the largest death camp in Germany and is still maintained as a memorial by the German government. It is located in Upper Saxony, not far from Nuremberg. Between 60,000 and 65,000 people lost their lives there.