Holocaust survivor turns 100

Gunter Hauer, who escaped from Germany during the Holocaust, celebrated his 100th birthday last week at the Philadelphia Protestant Home.

Gunter Hauer, a resident at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, celebrated his 100 birthday Tuesday, May 7. JACK TOMCZUK / NORTHEAST TIMES

Gunter Hauer, a Holocaust survivor and retired record executive, celebrated his 100th birthday Tuesday, May 7, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home in Lawndale.

Hauer was born in Berlin in 1919 and, as a teenager, attended events at the 1936 Olympic Games and witnessed Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. His family was able to escape to Shanghai by ship in 1939, around the start of the war.

After World War II, Hauer immigrated to America, and he settled in Philadelphia in 1947, taking a job with Atlantic Records.

Hauer moved to PPH after his wife Helen died several years ago. He speaks about his experience to schools and other organizations through the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center at KleinLife.

“I want the people who said (the Holocaust) didn’t happen to know it happened,” Hauer said. “Look at me. I did it.”

PPH threw a party for Hauer with cake and citations provided by U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, State Sen. Tina Tartaglione, State Rep. Jared Solomon and Councilwoman Cherelle Parker.

Hauer is one of seven PPH residents who are least 100 years old.

“I haven’t really set it down yet,” said Hauer, who speaks with a slight German accent. “It doesn’t feel any different. Everything is the same, only slower than it used to be.”

“I’m very fortunate that I can still do things which other 100-year-old people can’t do anymore,” he added. “Why? I don’t know. I didn’t train for it. It just happened.”

Hauer has three children — Frank, David and Gail — and three grandchildren. ••