Felix Weil


A native of Frankfurt-am-Main, Felix attended the prestigious ‘Philanthropin’ school. After Kristallnacht many Jewish families sent their children out of Germany via the Kindertransport to escape the coming catastrophe. At the age of eleven he found himself in England, still not realizing that he would never see his family again. In 1941, his parents and sister were sent to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and his father died there. His mother and sister died later in concentration camps. In 1945, an aunt and uncle brought him to the United States, but he was drafted and sent back to Germany to serve with the occupation forces. He graduated from Kent State University and has lived in Dayton since 1950. He is now retired from the art business. He and his wife Frances have two children and four grandchildren.

Frankfurt, one of the largest cities in Germany, dates back to Roman times (it was the “ford of the Franks”). The medieval town grew up in the twelfth century around an imperial castle. The Holy Roman emperors were usually elected and crowned there, and it was a center of the Lutheran Reformation. In the Napoleonic era, Frankfurt was the capital of the Confederation of the Rhine, and the first national German assembly was held there in 1848. After the unification of Germany in 1870 it grew into a major industrial center. It was damaged heavily in World War II and afterwards was the headquarters of the American occupation forces. Today it is a global financial center and the site of one of the world’s busiest airports. Jews have lived in Frankfurt since the early Middle Ages, and before the war they were very numerous and active in the city’s cultural, educational and business life.