Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
Name: Herb DeLevie (1934 – 1989)
Birth Place: Rheine, Germany
Arrived in Wisconsin: 1950, Madison
Everybody was going to die and the death was not going to be pleasant.
Herb DeLevie was born in Rheine, Germany, on May 7, 1934. His mother was German and his father was Dutch. His father's family had practiced the traditions of Sephardic Judaism for centuries. After witnessing rising anti-Semitism in Germany, the DeLevie family moved to Stadtskanaal, Holland, in 1936 to escape the growing sanctions against Jews.
In late 1940, Herb's father, a prominent business owner, went into hiding. Six months later, 7-year-old Herb, his mother, and 11-year-old sister joined him. Over the next four years, they hid in one room of a small farmhouse on the out¬skirts of Stadtskanaal with a large group of relatives and friends. To keep occupied, young Herb read more than 3,000 books brought by the Dutch Underground.
After liberation by a Canadian army unit in 1945, the DeLevies returned to their home. The senior DeLevie resumed his business and the family made plans to immigrate to the U.S. They left Holland in December 1949. The family resided with relatives in New York City until late spring 1950, when they arrived in Madison, Wisconsin.
Herb graduated from West High School in 1951 and enrolled in the University of Wisconsin. A chance encounter with Frank Lloyd Wright resulted in Herb's acceptance at Taliesin in May 1953, where he remained for two years. He joined the Army shortly thereafter and was sent to Korea. After his discharge, Herb settled in Los Angeles, where he worked as an architect, teacher, clothing designer, and cook, and married. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1964.
In June 1964, he married Monica Freund-Fasslicht in Los Angeles. He soon returned to Wisconsin because his father was ill. He set up shop as an architect in Madison, where his sons were born in 1968 and 1971. His second wife died in 1975 and two years later he married again. In 1976, Herb formed the Madison architectural firm of DeLevie and Associates, which he ran until his death from a brain tumor in 1989.
Audio and Transcript Information
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Listen to Herb's testimony and view transcript
- Early childhood and family background
- Family relocates to Holland
- School and Jewish culture in Stadtskanaal
- Stadtskanaal countryside
- Rising anti-Semitism and the German invasion
- Family's decision to go into hiding
- Role of the Dutch Underground
- Nazis search for Herb's father
- Hiding with the Drente family, 1941-1945
- Community surroundings
- Physical arrangements in hiding
- Concealing many people in one room
- Security from German inspection
- Boredom, depression, and mental breakdowns
- Scarcity of food and the need for constant silence
- Support from the Dutch Underground
- Religious practices while in hiding
- Close calls with German soldiers
- Germans kill Dutch Underground supporters
- Liberation by Canadian troops
- Postwar life in Holland
- Herb's hospitalization for malnutrition and weakness
- Reprisals against Nazi sympathizers
- Recognition of the partisans who protected his family
- Immigration to the U.S., December 1949
- Madison Jewish community's treatment of the family
- Acts of kindness from new neighbors
- Herb's high school and college years in Madison
- More on Herb's University of Wisconsin years
- Training under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin
- Korean War service
- First marriage in California
- Herb's second marriage and return to Madison
- Establishing an architectural firm
- Third marriage and family life in Madison
- Contact with other survivors