Fritz Ottenheimer was born in Constance, Germany in 1925. He was eight years old when Adolf Hitler came to power, and, in the years that followed, he and his family were subjected to the increased restrictions and hateful propaganda that were directed against Germany’s Jewish population.
In May of 1939 (when Fritz was fourteen), just before the start of World War II, the Ottenheimer family was granted permission to immigrate to the United States. After Fritz graduated from high school he joined the US Army and returned to his former homeland to take part in the allied drive across Germany at the end of the war.
Following the de-Nazification effort, Oppenheimer returned to civilian life: completing his education and working as a mechanical engineer until retiring in 1987.
Finally, in 1999, he published a book detailing his experiences. Escape and Return: Memories of Nazi Germany is a book Elie Wiesel “read […] immediately and was touched, deeply touched by its content as well as by its style.”
Mr. Ottenheimer currently resides in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. He will be at the Carnegie Library of Homestead to share his stories September 9th at 6pm.