Erwin Ganz was born in Frankfurt, Germany on August 22, 1929. He lived there until he was three years old when his family was forced to leave and relocate to Bernakstel Koos, Germany. After the Nuremberg Laws were passed, he took the train on his own from ages 5-8 to attend a Jewish school outside his community.
In 1938 Erwin’s father left for America to save enough money to bring his family there safely. Months later, Erwin witnessed Kristallnacht. On November 9 to November 10, 1938, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Thanks to his father’s efforts, Erwin emigrated to the United States in April of 1939 at age 9, and the family settled in Newark, New Jersey.
Erwin was a director at the Ronson Corporation, where his career spanned six decades. Since retirement, Erwin has spoken at numerous colleges, high schools, public libraries, and synagogues about his life as a child, growing up in Nazi Germany before, during, and after Kristallnacht.