BENEFITING: Wish of a Lifetime
EVENT DATE: Sep 21, 2015
Siegfried "Siggy" K., 86, resides in Santa Monica, California. He has lived an incredible life. From escaping the horrors of World War ll to becoming a father, grandfather and artist. Siegfried is a man full of heart and wisdom. While working in his daughter’s art studio, Siegfried began to share his life story. Siegfried first revealed his roots when he painted a black and white picture of a barren field in the winter. When his daughter, Lori, asked about the painting, Siegfried revealed that it was the field near the sawmill his father worked at in Saafeld, East Prussia (what is Zalewo, Poland today). Siegfried has not returned to Saafeld since his escape from the Holocaust nearly 76 years ago, he says he would “like to see where my beginnings were” and "commemorate my family being there (in Poland), even if they can’t be." As a result, Wish of a Lifetime will send Siegfried and his significant other, Virginia, to Zalewo, Poland in September 2015.
Siegfried was born in Saafeld, East Prussia, in 1926.Saafeld was a small town with only three Jewish children. In 1936, at the age of 8, Siegfried was denied an education and was sent to Berlin with the help of unknown sources. He stayed at the Auerbach Orphanage vividly remembering Kristallnacht. Three years later, Siegfried was sent to France, where he stayed at two different orphanages. Before the occupation, he was located at Chateau de Quincy sous Senart and after the occupation, he was sent to Chateau de Chabannes in unoccupied France. The orphanages in France were not considered typical orphanages, as the children were of different nationalities and were instructed to avoid Nazi suspicion.
In 1941, the American Quakers selected 14 year old Siegfried as part of a group of 40 children to go to Portugal, a neutral country. From Portugal, the American Quakers placed Siegfried on a ship to New York. The American Jewish Friends Committee arranged train passage to San Francisco, California where he was placed in another orphanage, Homewood Terrace. After high school at age 18, Siegfried was drafted into the United States Army. He was sent to Camp Hood, Texas for infantry replacement training for 12 weeks. From Texas, he was sent to Fort Mason in San Francisco. Then on to Camp Stoneman in California where he served in the Information Education Branch attached to the Transportation Corps for 22 months. After his time in the Army, Siegfried received his GI Bill. As a result, he went to school for 4.5 years and studied fine arts and motion picture arts at Chouinard Art Institute, UCLA, USC, and Los Angeles City College for related studies.
After college, Siegfried worked independently as an architectural illustrator, and remained in this profession for 60 years. Having a father as an artist, Lori aspired to become an artist as well. Today, the two work side by side. They have created amazing works of art through their “Human Element Project." For this project, Siegfried and Lori collected and shared stories of 129 Holocaust survivors, including Siegfried's story. Siegfried has few memories of his father at the sawmill and his mother at home. He also has little recollection of his brother and sister who were 14 and 15 years older than him. He will forever feel the devastating effects of World War ll on his family, as they all perished in the Holocaust.
Wish of a Lifetime is honored to send Siegfried back to his city of birth, Saalfeld, to commemorate his loving family and recollect with sadness his memories of difficult political times. He is looking forward with great excitement and anticipated emotional feelings to experience his hometown and paying his respects to his family, while making new memories that will last a lifetime.
Contributions to sponsor a specific wish will be used for that wish, but in the event that unforeseen circumstances prevent carrying out a wish as planned, the contributions for that wish will be used to at the discretion of Wish of a Lifetime to further its charitable purposes and objectives. If contributions are received over and above what is necessary to fund a specific wish, the excess funds will be used at the discretion of Wish of a Lifetime to further its charitable purposes and objectives.