Before the War

David Arieh* Hersch was born in Dej, Romania on July 13, 1925. He was the youngest of eight, four boys and four girls, born to Josef and Malka Hersch. Dej was a rural town of 15,000 in the Transylvania region. During World War I, Transylvania belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Dave's father fought in its army as a cavalry soldier. Captured by the Russians in 1915, after his release he returned home and started a soap factory. Dave attended school only through fifth grade (typical in those days). After, as a very young uncle, he helped his older siblings with their children, and also worked in the factory, which was managed by his older brother, Villi. In the photo to the right, taken in the rear of the small factory, Villi is on the left, and 12 year old Dave is on the right.


*Arieh is a Hebrew name meaning "lion."

1938, in the rear of Dave's father's soap factory.

1938, in the rear of Dave's father's soap factory.