Name: Martin Weingarten
City / Town: Carmel
Death: April 16
Martin Weingarten was born during the most serious pandemic of recent history in the Spanish flu, the son of two Austrian candy shop owners.
He grew up to be a curious and anxious teenager, watching over his family’s fourth-floor apartment when the Nazis brutally beat a Jewish neighbor on the sidewalk in Vienna.
Weingarten fled and spent 80 years of glory in the United States. I first worked for my uncle in New York and then at a US Air Force base. Later, in Maryland, as an employee of the United States Census Bureau.
Weingarten died in Carmel on April 16th, one of the most recent pandemics in the world. According to his nephew Joe Weingarten, the coronavirus was determined to be the cause of his death.
He was unaware that he had been infected with COVID-19. By the time he died, Weingarten was suffering from dementia, his nephew said.
But this 100-year-old man never allowed the trials of life to pollute his outlook or destroy his good intentions.
“Oh, he was very friendly and very happy,” said Joe Weingarten, 75, of Fischer’s. “He was always the best person in the room. He was always smiling and always one of the kind-hearted companions.”
Weingarten was born on November 28, 1919, during the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health crisis was caused by the H1N1 virus, which carries a gene from birds.
Influenza spread worldwide, affecting 500 million people, one-third of the world’s population, between 1918 and 1919. According to the CDC, the death toll is estimated to be at least 50 million and about 675,000 in the United States.
However, Weingarten was successfully born to the youngest of three boys, Mancie and Isak Weingarten.
The family lived in an apartment on a “calm environment” candy shop with a “intimate family”, Weingarten wrote for his family in a 9-page 45,000-word document “My Self Easy Personal history and family. “
By the time he was a teenager, Weingarten’s parents had sold candy shops, opened general stores, and offered household items such as soaps, cleaning agents, and various perfumes. It was a great financial success, and Weingartens bought two four-story apartments and moved the family to the top floor of one of them.
Weingarten has always been interested in world events from an early age. As the world around him became miserable, he became more interested. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler insisted on integrating Austria into Germany.
“In the end, Hitler managed to lure the head of government of Austria into a fateful encounter, where he forcibly detained him and stripped him of his position,” Weingarten wrote.
Following that meeting, Germany invaded Austria on March 12, 1938.
Within weeks of the invasion, Izak Weingarten, along with other Jewish business owners, was taken up by Nazi authorities. He was detained and threatened. He was finally released only after he agreed to give up his grocery store and appoint the manager of the apartment building.
“Of course, we were all relieved to see him return home safely,” Weingarten wrote. “Loss of property and income was no longer important.”
Eighteen-year-old Weingarten and his brother Morris managed to get the proper documentation and left Vienna on a train to Konstanz, Germany, in the summer of 1938. So they wanted to go to Switzerland. The Gestapo, the German secret police in Konstanz, was rumored to help guide immigrants across the Swiss border.
“Immigrants could only bring 10 marks out of Germany, but our dad gave us some dollar bills that we hid on a shaving soap stick,” Weingarten wrote.
With the help of Gestapo officers, housing was arranged for Weingarten at an abandoned former hilltop hostel near Switzerland. While with other young Jewish men, they worked, repaired, maintained, and sometimes played games and sports.
In early March 1939, after staying in the camp for about eight months, the Weingarten brothers were informed by the US Embassy in Zurich that they were ready for an entry visa. After heading to Zurich and Antwerp, they boarded a liner to New York.
For the next 80 years, Weingarten didn’t take his life for granted.
A mission in the US Army in 1943 before being discharged from Scarlet Fever. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and statistics in June 1959.
And his marriage to his beloved Elizabeth in February 1950.
Weingarten worked for his uncle for nearly 20 years before working as a management analyst at an air force base in Rome, New York at the age of 39. He was later transferred to the Population Reference Bureau in Suitland, Maryland. He completed his 26-year career there in 1984 as Senior Economic Advisor to the Assistant Director of Economics.
Until a few years ago, Weingarten was still reading The Wall Street Journal every day, his nephew said. One day when he visited him in Carmel’s Stratford, Joe Weingarten noticed that the newspaper was hiding under his uncle’s arm.
He asked someone in Stratford if he was still reading it. “No, he just carries it around,” he said. Joe Weingarten has canceled his uncle’s subscription. The next time he visited, Weingarten found a copy of IndyStar and pushed it under his arm.
Weingarten and Elizabeth moved to Stratford’s retired community about 10 years ago to be near their nephew. Elizabeth, who died a few years ago with him, had no children because he was in four internments.
Contributed by The Indianapolis Star
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