Holocaust Survivor, French Resistance Fighter, & Korean War Veteran Kurt Leuchter
Vet-A-Thon features the remarkable story of Kurt and Edith Leuchter, Holocaust survivors who made it to the United States and have been married for 73 years.
One of the darkest chapters in human history forms the background of one of the most inspiring and beautiful stories we’ve ever shared at the Veterans Breakfast Club. It’s a story of love and war featuring Kurt and Edith Leuchter’s journey through the Holocaust.
Their daughter, Debbie Stuber, shares their stories. And Kurt joins us also to bear witness to his wartime experiences and also as a combat veteran of the Korean War.
Edith Leuchter, born in Brussels, Germany, faced the ominous specter of anti-Semitism early in life. The family’s move to the United States was disrupted by the infamous Kristallnacht in 1938, a night of broken glass that signaled the escalating persecution of Jews. Edith’s brother, Heinz, faced the horrors of deportation and eventually perished in Auschwitz.
The family’s separation reflected the cruel reality of the Holocaust, where countless families were torn apart by the Nazis. Edith’s journey to survival involved navigating through internment camps in France, facing hunger, and enduring the heart-wrenching decision to part with her mother and grandmother. The Jewish underground organization, OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants), played a crucial role in saving over 5,000 Jewish children during the war.
Edith’s story, intertwined with OSE’s efforts, highlights the bravery and sacrifices made to rescue young lives during this dark period.
Kurt Leuchter’s experiences in Vienna, Austria, mirrored the growing threat of anti-Semitism with the annexation of Austria by Germany. Witnessing the brutality of Kristallnacht, Kurt’s family faced persecution and forced separation. Their escape to Belgium was marked by constant danger, with the family relying on the kindness of strangers to hide precious belongings.
Kurt’s resilience found expression in his involvement with the French Resistance. Escaping from detention camps, he joined the Maquis, where he contributed to sabotaging German convoys. Kurt’s tale underlines the courage of those who resisted Nazi oppression, risking their lives for the greater good. The post-liberation period brought both Kurt and Edith to the United States, where they found each other and embarked on a journey of love and rebuilding. Their marriage in 1950 symbolized not only personal triumph over adversity but also the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable horrors.
Debbie Stuber’s narrative provides a profound insight into the post-war lives of Kurt and Edith Leuchter. From Kurt’s service in Korean to his contributions to the Apollo missions and active involvement in community service and Holocaust education, the Leuchters’ legacy extends beyond survival. Their commitment to remembering the Holocaust, sharing their story, and fighting against anti-Semitism serves as a beacon of hope and a call to action for future generations.
The Veterans Breakfast Club’s Veterans Day VET-A-THON is a 12-hour online program bringing veterans from around the nation together to share their stories of service with the public. You’ll hear from veterans from every walk of life and branch of service, from World War II to the present. Guest hosts from across the globe will help share Veterans’ stories, military history, GI humor, Armed Forces trivia, and information for veteran and military families.