Salomon Rettig was born to a Jewish family in 1923 in Berlin, Germany. His father worked as a salesman and his mother was a live-in maid until the advent of Nazism. Each member of the Rettig household managed to successfully escape the Nazis and establish “a second life” in another country. In Germany, his family was largely socially isolated because of the rampant Anti-Semitism that included acts of violence directed toward Jews. Rettig had few social interactions with other children as nearly all of his schoolmates belonged to the Hitler Youth. Nevertheless, he was an excellent student, and his academic abilities literally saved his life.
At the age of 11, his father and brother had successfully fled the country. His mother placed him in an orphanage hoping that the orphanage might select him to be sent to Palestine. Three years later, he was indeed selected and sent to Palestine because of his academic “promise.” Shortly afterward, the Nazis disbanded the orphanage...