On Thursday, March 30 2023, at 7 p.m. CEST, Herb is going to speak about how he survived Nazi persecution.

Herb was born in Vienna in 1937. Herb left Vienna with his parents in 1939 after the annexation by the Third Reich and joined relatives in Antwerp where they lived in an attic. The family tried to walk from Antwerp to Dunkirk, where they heard that the British were saving endangered Jews, but the Germans had already invaded France by the time they reached their destination. Upon returning to Belgium, Herb and his parents had to register as Jews, wear yellow stars, and were sent to a coal mining camp.

In 1941, the family moved to Brussels with some other family and Herb’s dad and cousin got manufacturing jobs working for the Germans, jobs that saved Herb and his mother from a roundup of Jews in October of 1942. This roundup forced the family to go into hiding. Thinking that they would not survive the war, Herb’s parents gave their son up unconditionally to Andrée Geulen-Herscovici, working for an underground network—Comité de Défence des Juifs (Jewish Defense Committee)—and Herb’s name was changed to Henri le Chat (Henry the cat). Herb was sent to several Catholic orphanages while his parents hid in the home of a sympathetic neighbor. The family reunited only once in the three year period of separation.

Following the end of the war in 1945, Herb’s parents went looking for their son, searching many orphanages and churches before finding Herb. After proving their rightful claim to their child, the family was finally reunited. The family continued to experience a lot of antisemitism in Europe following the war and, in 1948, Herb and his parents immigrated to the United States where they joined family in San Francisco.

Herb began his own business and has been self-employed for years. He is married with two children and grandchildren. In the 1990s, Inside Edition aired a clip of Andrée Geulen-Herscovici reuniting with Herb in California and seeing Herb’s mother for the first time since she entrusted her with Herb’s safety during the war.


This virtual event is a cooperation with the JFCS Holocaust Center and will be held in English.

Support us
Learn more