July 6, 1926 – August 2, 2018
Murray (Monek) Goldfinger
Murray was born in Wierchomla Wielka, Poland. He was one of nine children- he had five sisters and three brothers. His parent’s names were Salamon and Gitza (Kornhauser). His sisters names were Fela, Adele, Janka, Manja and Channah. His brothers names were Samek, Josef and Mordechai. They lived on a farm, with his father being a “butcher”. They were orthodox Jews, and held minyans in their home, as there were only 3 other Jewish families in their town.
In March of 1940, he and his family were forced to leave their home and move to Stary Sacz, to a restricted area for Jews. Although there was no fence or wall to contain the area, movement was not allowed out of the “artificial boundaries” which were in place, unless one had a “pass” to go to work.
Murray was separated from his family at the end of March, 1942, and was sent to Rosnov, which was a labor camp. He was supposed to go on a transport to what he later found out was Belzec, but the Nazis had miscounted and were five men short for a labor camp detail. Murray was pulled from the line, and sent to Rosnov labor camp. He was able to see his brother Josef once a week when he went to Josef’s camp for supplies.
In late August of 1942, he was taken to Lipia which was also a labor camp, and then transferred to the Tarnow Ghetto at the end of October 1942. He was taken to Szebnie labor camp in March of 1943 and stayed there until he was transferred to Birkenau Concentration Camp in the beginning of November, 1943. He received his “tatoo” 161108 upon his arrival at the camp. He remained there for 5 weeks in quarrantine and was then sent to Jawiszowice (a sub-camp of Auschwitz-Birkeanu) where he worked in the coal mine. He was taken on the death march to Gleiwitz in January, 1945 which lasted for approximately 3 days, and then transported by train to Buchenwald where he arrived 2 days later. He was liberated from Buchenwald Concentration Camp on April 11, 1945.
The Red Cross came to Buchenwald and took the youngest 300 children to Switzerland, where the Swiss government had made arrangements for them to live. This group was the first to offer the newly liberated young adults a place to go to, so Murray joined the group, although many others went to France. Rabbi Schecter was in charge of the transport and along with 3 American soldiers, they took the 300 youths to Switzerland. (There were only about 10 girls in the group) He was taken to the Hotel Pension Villa des Bains, which was a “kibbutz” owned by Shomar Hazaeer of Israel. Murray was in charge of taking care of the cows until the spring of 1946.
A cousin from Haverstraw, NY (Louis Korn) sponsored him to come to the U.S. and he came to the port of NY on June 16, 1947 on board the S.S. Drottningholm.
He moved to Newark, NJ and worked as a butcher. He met his future wife, Margaret, in May of 1949 and was married to her on January 8, 1950. They lived in Newark and then moved to Morristown, NJ in 1953. Daughter Adele was born in 1953, Linda in 1954 and Susan in 1959. Murray and Margaret lived in Morristown until 1997; they moved to Greenbriar at Whittingham in Jamesburg, NJ where Murray still lives.
Murray owned Speedwell Meats, a meat purveying company, from 1953 until shortly after his wife’s sudden death in October, 2001.
Murray has 5 grandchildren- Eric and Stephen Black (sons of Adele and Peter); Emily Prentiss (daughter of Linda and Stephen), and David and Rebecca Chanin ( children of Susan and Scott). He is the proud great-grandfather of Eric’s daughter, Olivia, who was born on July 8, 2013.
Murray is the sole survivor of his family. His parents were taken from Stary Sacz and executed by the Einsaztgruppen , along with a group of @100 elderly and young people, in August of 1942. Mordechai was murdered in 1940- he was married and put in prison for “ripping” money- 6 months later on the day he was to be released from prison, he was executed. Samek escaped from Rabka, an SS training camp where he was imprisoned, and caught and killed in 1942. Josef escaped the Tarnow ghetto- he was trying to get back to his hometown and was killed along the way. Fela lived in Tarnow prior to 1940. Murray saw her once in 1941 when she visited Stary Sacz and her fate is unknown. Sisters Adele, Janka, Manja and Channah were marched from Stary Sacz in August of 1942 to the city of Nowy Sacz, where there was a ghetto. It is believed that they perished in Belzec, although it has never been confirmed.
Murray is an active Holocaust guest speaker in public and private schools, synagogues, churches and civic groups. He has been doing this for more than 45 years.
The family suggests donations may be made to: CSE Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education Murray Godlfinger Holocaust Studies and Travel Scholarship Fund c/o College of St. Elizabeth Institutional Advancement 2 Convent Road Morristown, NJ 07960
- Funeral Service Sunday, August 5, 2018
- Committal Service Sunday, August 5, 2018
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August 9, 2018
I was so sad to hear about the passing of Mr. Goldfinger!! From the 1st day of meeting him at Dr. Zimmerman’s Office I fell in love with him. To the family my deepest condolences go out to you all. You are all in my thoughts and prayers! May he RIP.
August 4, 2018
Murray and my father were best friends, they went thru the horrors of the holocaust together and stayed friends until the end. My father is now the last of their "group" of survivors that was liberated from Buchenwald together and went to Switzerland.
Murray and his wife Margeret were like an aunt and uncle to me and my sister and we grew up with Adele Linda and Suzy.
We are all deeply saddened by his passing and I will miss his phone calls to me to check on my father. May his memory always be a blessing to you all.
August 4, 2018
Murray was a remarkable man. He shared his story of hope and love with thousands. I was honored to have known him. Forever remembered.