Herbert Leopold Strauss was born in Leipzig in 1900. He traced his roots back approximately 400 years in Germany. Strauss served in the German Army during World War I. He graduated from Heidelberg University and completed his education at the Leipzig College of Law, becoming a practicing attorney. He and his wife Gisela had one daughter, Eva, born in 1937.
In 1938, Strauss was arrested and sent to Buchenwald. He remained there for six months. He was one of the lucky ones who was released from Buchenwald, under the condition that he leave the country with his wife and child. He was forced to leave behind everything of value. The family spent two years in England and came to the United States when Strauss was 40. He worked at several jobs to support his family, including being a truck driver’s helper and hardware store clerk in Huntington, West Virginia. Eventually he became a bookkeeper in Portsmouth, Ohio. Had he wished to practice law, he would have had to return to law school, graduate and pass the bar exam. At forty, he decided against it.
Strauss had three grandchildren and died in Dayton in 1980. His family’s contribution to our exhibit was the sign which reads (in German): “Germans, go to German attorneys!”
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.