A Talk with Gay Holocaust Survivor

Al Munzer shares life lessons in Conversation with a Holocaust Survivor, Wednesday, July 29 at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. No registration required.


Although the odds were not favorable for Alfred Munzer in the circumstances surrounding his birth, in many ways, he ended up being the luckiest member of his family. He’s the youngest of three children of Simcha and Gisele Munzer, a family of Jewish immigrants from what is now Poland.

His parents were childhood sweethearts and were raising two daughters, Eva (born in July 1936) and Leah (born in November 1938) in the Hague, Netherlands. After World War I, anti-Semitism was rampant in their native land and opportunities were limited, so they moved to Holland where there was a substantial population of Jews, some of whom were from families that had been there since the 15th century.

Simcha ran a men’s tailoring business. When Gisele discovered she was expecting a third child — the pregnancy was unplanned — an abortion was advised and, as Munzer tells it today, his mother was told that, “it would be immoral to bring another Jewish life into the world.” Although not especially religious, she was inspired by the Old Testament story of Hannah, the childless woman who vows to God that if she is given a son, she will give him back to God. Her wish is granted with the birth of Samuel.

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