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Monday, July 07, 2003

Former Westporter Chaim Engel, Nazi Death Camp Survivor, Dies at 87

Chaim Engel, a Nazi death camp survivor who lived in Westport after emigrating from Israel, has died at the age of 87.

Engel, who operated a greeting card store in Stamford in the 1960s while living in Westport, died Friday in Branford, his daughter, Alida Engel Berger, told WestportNow.

She said he had been in declining health as a result of a recent automobile accident.

Engel used his story of suffering and escape from a Nazi death camp to educate children about the Holocaust.

He and his wife, Selma, whom he met at the Sobibor camp in Poland, told their tale in classrooms throughout the New Haven area.

Their story was depicted in the 1987 television movie, “Escape From Sobibor,” and at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington.

After the war, Engel sold men’s clothing in Holland. The couple then emigrated to Israel and from there to Westport in 1959, where they resided on Wilton Road.

The couple later moved to Oakwood Lane. Daughter Alida was a member of the 1964 Staples graduating class while son Fred was ‘66.

The Engels moved to Branford in 1970 after he bought a jewelry store in Old Saybrook.

In addition to his wife, daughter and son, Engel is survived by four grandchildren.

Update (July 9, 2003): A dispatch from the Jewish Telegraph Agency includes a comprehensive account of Engel’s life.


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