Larry (Lothar) Weiss


Written by Marcia Birken in conjunction with interview and notes of Ilene Benz, daughter of Larry Weiss

Anneleise Lothar and Artur Weiss
Anneleise, Lothar, and Artur Weiss

Larry (Lothar) Weiss was born August 8,1937 in Berlin, Germany to Artur and Anneleise Sophie Weiss (née Flossdorf).  When Larry was just two years old World War II began and life for the Jews of Germany turned to a nightmare.  On three separate occasions his father, Artur, was rounded up by the Gestapo, but Anneleise’s non-Jewish father would write letters to the prison attesting to the special skills Artur possessed and after a time he would be released. Larry spent much of the war hiding from the Nazis, often protected by the nuns of the local church. He was fluent in French and German and traveled with comic books written in these languages, as well as a Bible, Mark Twain’s The Prince and The Pauper and a book on leadership.


At the end of the war, under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee, Artur, Anneliese, and Lothar Weiss boarded the SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons and World War II refugees. The ship set sail from Bremen, Germany on June 12, 1947, and arrived in New York City ten days later.  On the ship’s manifest Artur is listed as 34 years old, Anneliese as 30, and young Lothar as 9.  Their destination on the manifest is listed as 215 Mt. Hope Pl., Bronx, NY.  Artur anglicized his name to Arthur, Anneliese shortened her name to Anna, and Lothar became Larry.

Harriet and Larry Weiss
Harriet and Larry Weiss at daughter Ilene’s wedding to Steven Benz, 1995

Larry had his Bar Mitzvah on March 24,1951 at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City. During high school, the family lived in the Bronx where Larry attended Murray Hill Vocational High School, graduating as Valedictorian with an Automotive Mechanics degree in 1956. He completed his education with an AAS degree from New York City Community College in 1958. Following this he served in the US Army in Fort Benning, GA and Frankfurt, Germany.

From the Bronx, the family moved to Yonkers. While living in Yonkers, Larry Weiss married his wife, Harriet Shiffer, and they had two daughters, Ilene and Sandra.

Larry was a premier salesman of kitchen equipment to some of the top New York City restaurants. He belonged to the Knickerbocker Lodge and the Knights of Pythias. His daughter Ilene came to live in Rochester, NY and as her parents’ health started to fail, moved them to Rochester.

Larry passed away on October 7, 2018, at the age of 81. In addition to his wife and daughters, he is survived by three grandchildren.

Additional Sources:

  • Obituary: Brighton Memorial Chapel
  • records
  • Ship Manifest of SS Ernie Pyle, June 12, 1947
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