Harold Matzner was born in 1908 to a Jewish family in Poland. He was from an older generation of Jews who were forced to live under the rule of various countries during World War I, II and III. Harold’s family lived through some hard times with many hardships. However, they persevered and eventually came over to America in 1920. They settled down right away because they already had friends who helped them start their new life off on the right foot by providing them with a place to stay and work while adjusting. Their second city, New York, supported their situation and treated them as family. To learn more about him go to https://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/Nebraska/Harold-Matzner_29m382.

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At the age of 25, he met his wife, Sophie, while working together at a factory. A few years later, in 1930, Harold discovered he would be a father. He eagerly awaited Sophie to give birth because it would bring his family closer together. Unfortunately, she had died in childbirth 1 month earlier, and with that, his heart broke into smaller pieces. From 1936-1939 he worked as a cashier in an office and lived in an apartment building with other Jews from Poland. All the other tenants had left for America except him and another man who lived there by himself named Max Sternberg. When the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia occurred, Harold was a loyal member of the Jewish community. Also, during this time, he had a job working in an office and worked for Willys-Overland Motor Company. In 1937 Harold’s mother passed away at 68, leaving him to take care of his widowed father and two sisters, who were also left alone in Poland. 


On December 17, 1941, at 29, Harold Matzner was drafted into the Army, stationed as a clerk in Palestine. Although he was not directly fighting in the war, he still felt his life was in danger. The worst part was that he did not know when it would end. His sister, who he cared for greatly, passed away while being treated in an army hospital. He did not receive any letters or packages from home because most of his family members died, and some were in concentration camps. He was afraid if any information got back to him that, it would be bad news. Even though he did not receive any letters from his family, the USO had a program that allowed him to write letters back home to his family with their help.