- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Morris Kornberg, a Waldorf resident who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, died Tuesday. He was 95.
Kornberg was born in the Polish town of Przedborz in 1918.
John Dries, who had been a friend of Kornberg and his late wife, Herta, said Kornberg passed away at home. Given his declining health, Dries said, Kornberg’s death came as no surprise.
During World War II, Kornberg was held first at a sub-camp of Auschwitz, then Buchenwald and finally Theresienstadt. In an interview with the Maryland Independent in April, Kornberg said he was unsure why he lived when so many others perished.
“I did not want to live,” Kornberg said in April. “I don’t know why I lived when so many others were murdered. We saw American planes fly over the camps, and I hoped to die at least by those planes, not by the Germans.”
Kornberg was liberated from Nazi rule in 1945. In 1947, he met his wife in Germany. Although she was not Jewish, her family had not stood with Hitler’s cause and was persecuted alongside the others. Kornberg moved to the U.S. in 1949 with “virtually nothing,” Dries said, and his wife followed a year later.
Dries became acquainted with Kornberg 22 years ago, when he was renting a barn on Kornberg’s land. Following his wife’s death in 2009, Dries said Kornberg never fully bounced back.
“He never expected that she would die before him, and so it was very surprising for him,” Dries said. “He was never really able to move forward from that. She was his anchor.”
In the April interview, Kornberg said he began speaking publicly about his ordeal in 1993 as a way to process what had happened to him, as well as to raise awareness of the plight of so many. Kornberg had a friendship with famed “Night” author Elie Wiesel, along with other prominent Holocaust survivor advocates, and had his life story recorded for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
“He was very active in making people aware of what happened, and not a lot of survivors did that,” Dries said. “He was brilliant, very conversive and a wonderful conversationalist. He had interest in a lot of different things. I had a lot of good times with him and Herta.”
A memorial service for Kornberg will be held Jan. 20 from 11 to 11:45 a.m. at Raymond Funeral Home in La Plata. Kornberg will be buried at King David Memorial Gardens in Falls Church, Va.