After the War

Kohlbruck Klinik

Dave Hersch, top row center, with other patients at the Kohlbruck Klinik in Passau, Germany.

Suffering from typhus, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, and weighing less than 80 lbs, after a couple of weeks in a hospital Dave was sent to the Kohlbruck Klinik, in Passau, Germany, to begin his long recuperation. Here he is seen with unknown fellow patients (Dave is in the center, top row), sometime in the summer of 1945, only a few months after his rescue. 

Another Close Call

Dave in bed at Kohlbruck, recovering from peritonitis, which nearly killed him in December, 1945.

In the late fall, 1945, Dave's recovery was set back when he contracted peritonitis. Near death, on Christmas Day 1945 doctors began a course of treatment that finally put him on the road to recovery (though for the rest of his life he had to be extremely careful what he ate). In the fall of 1946 he was released, and he returned to his hometown of Dej, to be reunited with his brothers Villi and Isadore, and his sister Rosie, the only other surviving Hersch siblings. The photo shows Dave finally on the mend in early 1946.

Leaving Dej

Dave, dressed as an orthodox Jew, to sneak out of Romania as the son of an orthodox Jewish family.

Though Dave and his siblings reestablished their lives in Dej, it no longer felt like home to him. Eager to emigrate to Israel but unable to obtain a visa, Dave pretended to be the son of a  local, devoutly orthodox Jewish family, whose own son had previously made his way to Israel by other means (the photo shows Dave with hair, glasses, and facial expression to match the son's). The ruse worked, and by late 1947 Dave was living in Israel.


Dave with the woman who would become his wife, Rachel Zeilingold, in 1954 or '55.

Living in Haifa, Dave worked in a soda factory and a shoe store, among other jobs. Knowing he would one day move to the US, he, with three close friends, hired an Israeli girl, Miriam Rachel Zeilingold, to teach them English.  Known as Rachel or Rita, she had deep roots in Israel. She was serving in the air force, other relatives were soldiers and politicians, and her first cousin, Esther Cailingold, had been killed in the battle for Old Jerusalem in 1948.  In 1955 Dave and Rachel were married, and in 1958, after the birth of their first-born, Jack, they moved to the US. The photo above was taken shortly before their wedding.

Life in the US

The day in 1965 when Dave and Rachel celebrated his purchase of a stake in a senior citizen home.

Dave, Rachel and Jack moved to Long Beach, NY. A few years later, they moved to Asbury Park, NJ, where, in 1962, Elliot was born. They returned to Long Beach in 1965, remaining there through Dave's retirement.  The photo shows the family in 1965 following a dinner to celebrate Dave's purchase of a small stake in a senior citizen home (what would now be called "assisted living"). 

Later Years

Dave, with his grandchildren Rachel (right) and Lauren, in San Diego in 2001

Dave retired  in the late 1980s. He spent his time visiting his grandchildren, taking long walks on the Long Beach boardwalk, and traveling to Israel to spend time with his two brothers and sister, who lived in Natanya.  The photo was taken in 2001 in San Diego, with his granddaughters Lauren (left) and Rachel.