Walter Sommers 100th birthday week: Walter delivers Kristallnacht talk at CANDLES

Walter Sommers, an esteemed member of United Hebrew Congregation, will turn 100 years old on Tuesday, Dec. 29. To mark the occasion and recognize Walter’s tremendous contributions to the history and character of his adopted hometown, Mayor Duke A. Bennett of Terre Haute has proclaimed Tuesday as Walter Sommers Day.

A long life brings tremendous challenges as well as achievements. During the past month, Walter has endured the passing of his wife of 73 years, Louise, and his best friend, Terry Fear.

Nevertheless, Walter will celebrate with family at Westminster Village in Terre Haute, while contemplating a return to CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, where he began serving as a docent in 2004.

Walter determinedly and forcefully tells his story to any audience who will receive him, relating the shambles he witnessed Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, in Hamburg, Germany — Kristallnacht — his father’s internment in Buchenwald and his family’s flight to freedom in the U.S.

He met and married Louise, served in the Pacific during World War II, founded the ladies’ notions department at Meis Department Store in Terre Haute, and steadfastly attended services at UHC each Friday night.

Watch: Walter speaks about Kristallnacht at CANDLES

Here, we present Walter’s talk on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Nov. 10, 2018, at CANDLES. CANDLES founder Eva Kor pays tribute to Walter at the end of the program.

“My name is Walter Sommers, and I grew up as an ordinary Jewish boy in Frankfurt, Germany,” Walter begins….

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