Josef was born in 1918 in Krakow, Poland. He was born and raised in a traditional Jewish home. His mother was a housewife and helped his dad run his gift shop business. He had two brothers and one sister. Josef’s father died in 1938, one year before Germany invaded Poland. At the age of 22, Josef, his mother, and sister were sent to the Krakow ghetto. Over a year later, they were transferred to the Plaszow Concentration Camp. His mother and sister did not survive the concentration camp.
While Josef was still at Plaszow, he was chosen to be on Schindler’s List as an engineer. Josef worked in the Schindler underground, where he delivered weapons to prisoners. He was able to escape transport to the extermination camps by working for Oskar Schindler, and remained relatively safe until the war ended. 1,500 inmates were able to survive the war by being a “Schindler Jew.” In May of 1945 Schindler’s camp was liberated and Josef went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his first wife and daughter. He went to engineering school in the United States and became a VP for a firm in Philadelphia.
He later remarried, and Josef and his wife Doris generously donated funds to build a Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach.