Edmund Lang (1920-2007)

Edmund Lang was born December 25, 1920, in Perleberg, Germany; he was an only child. His father, who was awarded the Iron Cross after serving in the German army during the First World War, was the owner of the biggest store in their small German town. The Langs were secular Jews, and Ed had no bar mitzvah. He went to a Catholic school where the nuns loved him because he was born on Christmas Day.

But in the 1930s, life turned difficult for his family; his father's Iron Cross no longer mattered. Hitler came to power, and his parents got him false papers and a fake Aryan identity so Ed could work on a farm. The foreman of the farm was a Nazi Party member but took a liking to Ed, a good worker. The Gestapo learned that Ed's papers were fake and sent an inquiry to the foreman, who warned Ed to clear out.

Ed went home to find his home half-destroyed, his father taken to a work camp. His mother sent him to Berlin. There a cousin gave up her spot to him on a Kindertransport train during the months after Kristallnacht when Britain took in 10,000 predominantly Jewish children. His cousin got out later.

When England went to war in 1939, all Germans – including Edmund – were rounded up as enemy aliens. Ed was shipped to a prisoner of war camp in Quebec, Canada.

Once they segregated the Jews from the captured German soldiers, Ed found his time there was relatively happy, even carefree. After the war, he had a peripatetic life: He was a waiter at a fine hotel in the Laurentian Mountains, attended college in Montreal, served with the merchant marine, and even owned a trucking company in Canada.

In the 1950s, he settled down. He moved to Boston and built up his real estate portfolio. He met a schoolteacher, Louise Adelman, who already had a young son. Ed was 47 when they married in 1967, and he adopted young Tom.

In 1970, the family moved to Portland. Ed sold his Boston holdings and started anew as an investor. Louise died of cancer in 1982. Ed never remarried.

Ed died October 11, 2007, at the age of 86.