Edmund Graf was born on August 12, 1919, in Lwow, Poland, (Lviv, Ukraine), to a Jewish couple. Edmund’s brother was born in 1914. In 1921, Edmund’s father was killed by Ukrainians. Not long after, Edmund’s mother took him and his brother to live with her parents in Dabrowa, Poland. As an adult, Edmund worked as an electrician.
In September 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Germany occupied regions west of the Bug River, the Soviet Union occupied those to the east. In October, Edmund was selected for forced labor and transported Dabrowa Tarnowska. In 1940, Edmund fled to Soviet occupied Lwow, where life was not as restricted for Jews. In June 1941, Germany occupied Lvov. Edmund began working for a company that produced mechanical equipment. One of the company’s German administrators learned that Edmund had the same surname as he did and threatened to kill Edmund. He stopped working and returned to Dabrowa. In December 1941, Edmund was taken to Pustkow labor camp, where he worked as slave laborer beside Soviet prisoners of war. In May 1942, he was sent to Mielec, a subcamp of Krakau-Plaszow slave labor camp, where he was forced to work as a mechanic at the Ernst Heinkel Airplane factory. In January 1944, Krakau-Plaszow became a concentration camp with several official subcamps. On July 22, as the Soviet Army advanced on the region, Edmund was transported to Wieliczka, a subcamp of Krakau-Plaszow. Airplane production had been moved to the old, underground salt mine near this camp. Several days later, Edmund was deported to Flossenburg concentration camp in Germany. He was issued prisoner number 14811 and a striped camp uniform. Edmund was assigned to the stitch detachment, which was forced to work on the construction of Messerschmitt 109, 110, and 111 fighter jets. The detachment was housed at Flossenburg, but marched to the nearby Altenhammer subcamp each day to work at the airplane factories there. On April 8, 1945, Edmund was transferred to onsite barracks at Altenhammer. On April 23, Edmund was liberated by US soldiers. Many civilians brought the former prisoners food, including potatoes, which kept Edmund alive.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Edmund made his way to Auerbach and then settled in Hamburg. Edmund contacted an uncle in Argentina, who was able to write to people in Dabrowa. All of Edmund’s relatives, except his brother, had been killed during the Holocaust. His brother had fought in a Polish division in the British Army during the war. In 1946 or 1947, he sailed to Palestine illegally aboard the ship Samaria and fought for Israeli Independence. In August 1950, Edmund boarded USNS General W.H. Haan and went to the United States. Edmund married a fellow Holocaust survivor, Malvina Kleinberger. Malvina was born on December 19, 1922, in Krakow, Poland, to Jacob and Leontyna Geiger Kleinberger. She had 7 siblings: Balbina, Sabina, Maria, Henryk, Szymon, Helena, and a sister who died pre-war. In September 1939, Malvina fled to Soviet occupied Lvov, but later returned to Krakow ghetto. In January 1943, she was interned at Krakau-Plaszow slave labor camp, and then at Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Burgau concentration camps. In April 1945, Malvina was marched from Burgau, a Dachau subcamp, to Allach, where she was liberated by US soldiers. In December 1947, Malvina and her surviving siblings, Balbina Sabina, Maria, and Henryk, went to the US. Edmund and Malvina settled in Brooklyn and had three daughters. Malvina, 84, died on November 26, 2007, in New York. Edmund, 93, died on August 18, 2012, in New York.