March 3, 1923 – March 18, 2017
Ludwig Hahn, 94, Holocaust Survivor and World War II Veteran
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. -- Dylan Thomas
Ludwig “Lou” Hahn, 94, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., died on March 18, 2017, in Memorial Regional Hospital, Hollywood, Fla.
Lou did not “go gentle into that good night,” putting up a battle that would challenge the fortitude of someone decades younger. Fighting for survival was the story of his early life, but he chose joy rather than sorrow to guide him through most of his nine-plus decades.
Born in Bergen (Frankfurt), Germany, on March 3, 1923, Lou was the only child of Hermann and Emma Rosenberg Hahn. He was an outstanding student and may one day have become a rabbi had Hitler not ended his dreams.
In November 1938 following Kristallnacht, Lou and his father were arrested by Nazi soldiers and imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp along with thousands of Jewish men.
The “final solution” was yet to come, so the prisoners were soon released. In early 1939, Lou’s parents sent him to England on the Kindertransport, a rescue mission that saved thousands of Jewish children. A few weeks later, he would turn 16 and be ineligible. He never saw his mother and father again.
He spent the next two years living as an orphan in England, sometimes sleeping through the German bombings. In January 1941, Lou’s “number came up,” as he would say, and he was able to immigrate to America under the quotas with the help of his aunt in Queens, N.Y., who had arrived many years earlier.
A week shy of his 20th birthday, Lou enlisted in the U.S. Army and began basic training in Alabama. On completion, he became a U.S. citizen and shipped off to North Africa with the 525th Ordnance Company to repair tanks on the front lines. He saw service in Egypt and Italy, participating in the brutal battle at Anzio, where he lost many comrades. At one point, he was sent across enemy lines to listen in on the Germans because of his fluency with the language.
After the war, he returned to New York City and worked in various jobs, living in Washington Heights among the large German-Jewish community there. It was a lonely time in his life, until 1947 when he met Marion Buchwalter, a beautiful 19-year-old refugee, who had escaped Germany with her parents in 1939. They married the following year.
Lou and Marion had two children – Sandra Emma and Kenneth Herman – and life began to look more like the American dream, rather than the nightmare he had lived through. Lou worked in shipping for Moore-McCormack Lines and in later in banking for Fiduciary Trust Company. Though he lacked a formal education beyond high school, his facility with accounting and math were valued skills. After his company moved to the World Trade Center, Lou loved talking about the towers and the two elevators he took to reach the 96th floor.
Lou and Marion bought a house in Deer Park, Long Island, in 1959 and Lou was able to return to his love of Judaism. He became active in the Suffolk Jewish Center, where he led services when the rabbi was away, called bingo and became president of the Men’s Club.
He loved model trains. He and Kenny would spend hours working on the setup they built in the basement. He also loved his “kitty cats,” happily keeping any that wandered into the garage or came home from college with his daughter.
In 1984, Lou and Marion began retired life as Floridians. He became active in the synagogue at Century Village, teaching himself how to use the computer to do the bookkeeping as treasurer.
But their happy retirement was not to last. In 1990, Marion was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and given months to live. She died at 62 in 1991, and Lou was once again alone.
Serendipitously, Evelyn Fox, also widowed, came into his life. They would spend nearly 26 years together. With Evelyn, he acquired a new extended family, and also began to travel the world. They visited Frankfurt and saw his childhood home for the first time in over 50 years; toured Israel, and returned to the battlefield at Anzio, where he still recalled much of the landscape.
In the early 2000s, Lou was reunited with his three “lost” cousins who were hidden by nuns in France during World War II, and also with his childhood friend, Heinz “Henry” Hirsch of Australia, from whom he was separated after they landed in England in 1939 on the Kindertransport. Finding them brought some closure to that painful chapter in his life. One of his greatest joys was having his second bar mitzvah at the age of 83.
As he grew older, Lou’s lungs, hearing, vision and legs began to fail, but his mind never left him. Sharp and feisty to the end, he shaved himself less than 12 hours before he died, told his grandson to hug his beloved little great-granddaughters, tore off the oxygen mask and yelled, “Get me out of this bed!” He hugged his daughter at his side and went to sleep. The last words he heard were Psalm 23, read to him by Sandy and a nurse’s aide, who happened to be named Marian.
Lou’s survivors include his daughter Sandra Lanman and her husband Steven of East Brunswick, N.J., son Kenny Hahn of Central Islip, N.Y.; and Evelyn Fox, his partner of 26 years.
Also surviving are his grandsons, Christopher (Kara Hahn), and Scott Lanman (Rachel), and granddaughter Danielle Malliza Coleman and her husband Jay Coleman, and 10 great-grandchildren.
He also is survived by Evelyn’s family: daughter Elaine Blattner (David) and their children, Sarah Bromley (Andrew), and Steven Blattner.
Lou also was the beloved grandfather of the late Sheryl Lanman Nichols, who died in 2015.
Burial was at Beth David Memorial Gardens in Hollywood, Fla., under the direction of Riverside Gordon Memorial Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sheryl Lanman Nichols Memorial Fellowship at Rutgers University, c/o the Rutgers University Foundation, 7 College Ave., Winants Hall, New Brunswick, N.J., 08901, or online at Support.rutgers.edu/NicholsMemorial. Paging and Bottom Toolbar Previous Item Next Item Connected to Microsoft Exchange
Arrangements under the direction of Riverside Gordon Memorial Chapels, Miami, FL.
- Funeral Service Tuesday, March 21, 2017