You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better love story than this courtesy of Seth Siegel at the WSJ:
How does one overcome almost unimaginable horror and trauma? For Holocaust survivors Howard and Lottie Marcus, the healing came, in part, from the hope that they could help to provide refuge for other Jews who might find themselves at risk. But after restarting their broken lives in America, this modest couple could never have imagined that they would end up giving what is likely the largest single charitable gift in Israel’s history—$400 million—to be announced June 24.
Howard and Lottie were born in pre- Hitler Germany—he in 1909, she in 1916. But they met in America. With the rise of Nazism, both had the foresight, courage and good fortune to leave their native land before it was too late. In 1934, after Nazi goons murdered her brother outside their home in Linden, Germany, the 17-year-old Lottie persuaded her parents to allow her to go to the U.S.
Lottie’s future husband was, by all accounts, a gifted dentist. After the election of Hitler in 1933, Howard made his way to Naples and a professional life there, only to find himself in jeopardy again in 1936, when Mussolini agreed to Hitler’s demand that Italy expel all foreign Jews. As luck would have it, one of Howard’s patients was the U.S. consul general and, in an act of kindness, the official broke U.S. law by backdating the visa request to a period when transit papers were still available.
Arriving in America, Lottie spoke fluent German, French and English, and she developed secretarial skills in all three languages. This helped her get a job on Wall Street. There, she met Benjamin Graham, the legendary “father of value investing.” Graham soon became smitten and proposed to her. Lottie—20 years his junior—declined. Even so, the friendship endured until Graham’s death in 1976.
Related: Infographic: Let there be Water
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