One of Last Living Holocaust Survivors Offers Enduring Advice

Martin Greenfield is a world-renowned White House and celebrity tailor. He has made suits for everyone from presidents Eisenhower to Obama, LeBron James to Paul Newman, and Frank Sinatra to the cast of The Great Gatsby.


By Joely Friedman l August 5, 2015

http://gotham-magazine.com/get/files/image/migration/4628_content_tailor1.jpg Photo by Evan Sung

In 1940 the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was opened, and now 75 years later, Jews may soon face another existential crisis if Iran is to obtain nuclear weapons, which so many of our leaders warn will happen with President Obama’s Iran deal.

Martin Greenfield, an 86-year-old Auschwitz survivor, warned young adults to “never follow leaders.” Greenfield was speaking to the students of the National Journalism Center at the Young America’s Foundation’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia.

His remarks came following the recent United Nations vote naming Israel the worst country in the world for women’s rights. The United Nations women’s rights council, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), has found Israel to be the only country in the world that violates the rights of women.

The Vice-Chair of CSW is Sudan, a country where domestic abuse, child marriage, and marital rape are all perfectly legal.

Greenfield said that he is “uncomfortable with the world today and not optimistic about where things are going.”

Having survived the Holocaust, while his entire family was exterminated, Greenfield does not say that he is uncomfortable often.

When asked about the possibility of another Holocaust, Greenfield said that as long as young people do not follow leaders and as long as Israel exists, there is hope.

He went on to say that Israel is and will always be a sanctuary for any person of any minority, religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.

With anti-Semitism clearly gaining in popularity once again, Israel may be vital for the survival of the Jewish people.

President Obama acknowledged that he has noticed a “deeply disturbing rise” in anti-Semitism in America and in the rest of the world, according to the Associated Press. History has taught us that this is “not some passing fad,” the President said in May while at a Washington D.C. synagogue.

Charles Krauthammer observed that “anti-Semitism has returned to Europe; With a vengeance.”

If Krauthammer is agreeing with President Obama on an issue, then it is not an issue that should be overlooked.

Arlene Greenfield, Martin’s wife of 58 years, said she is afraid for her grandchildren. “We are headed towards another dark time, if young people do not open their eyes and stand up.”

Greenfield, the epitome of an American-self-made-success story, is “considered by many to be the best men’s tailor in the country,” according to Vanity Fair.

He is a world-renowned White House and celebrity tailor. He has made suits for everyone from presidents Eisenhower to Obama, LeBron James to Paul Newman, and Frank Sinatra to the cast of The Great Gatsby.

During my three months as a National Journalism Center Washington intern, meeting and listening to Martin Greenfield speak was a memorable and moving experience that I will always remember.


Joely Friedman is a student at Ohio State University, where she is president of the Society of Professional Journalists. She is currently a National Journalism Center intern in Washington, DC and a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.