Sherman Ray survived WWII Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, by sewing German uniforms. He was targeted by the Germans not once, but twice to be transported to the infamous Auschwitz. The first time, as a young man, was with his family. Sherman had heard rumors of the camps and wanted his family to jump from the train with him to escape, but they refused, so he jumped alone. That was the last time he saw his parents, sister, and younger brother. They were among thousands of Jews rounded up after Hitler’s army stormed through Poland.
After leaping from the moving train, he hid in the woods and lived by whatever means available. Eventually, he was captured a second time by German soldiers and transported to Auschwitz—this time, he was not lucky enough to escape. After arriving at the concentration camp, Sherman was saved by his tailoring skills and the soldiers put him to work making Nazis uniforms. For four years, he made his captors clothing while he watched many other Jews die of starvation and disease, and heard the screams of those in the death chambers.
Sherman was liberated in 1945 and eventually came to Oklahoma City and then Tulsa where he continued his work as a tailor and became the owner of Ray’s Tailor Shop.
The number B2526 was tattooed on his wrist by the Nazis. Sherman had the constant reminder of his past covered with a butterfly tattoo to help him forget.
His fondness for America is apparent when he says, “If I have to give my life for this country, I will.”
Interview with Sherman Ray
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: February 22, 2017
Date Published: May 5, 2017
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Auschwitz, President Truman, Ellis Island, Breitling, Cherokee Casino, Dachau, Poland invasion, World War II, tailor, Nazi, Hitler