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Dr. Herbert J., Lt. Col. U.S. Army Ret., 77, of Wayne, passed on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 after suffering a stroke. Herb was born in Katowice, Poland. A Holocaust survivor, by age 6 he was a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps, where he was often separated from his parents and forced to survive on his own. Fortunately, his father, Jakob Breitowitz, who at the close of the war was shot and left for dead by Nazi camp guards, managed to arrange for his son's escape. With the help of courageous friends, Herb and his mother, Jadzia Breitowitz, found their way to Berlin, and later Vienna, where they spent the war years in hiding with a Christian family. His father miraculously survived the camps and went on to write a memoir, "Through Hell To Life", depicting the family's extraordinary ordeal.
After the war, Herb and his mother walked 200 miles from Vienna to Katowice, where they reunited with Herb's father. Herb and his parents then moved to Stuttgart, Germany, where they spent time in a Displaced Persons Camp. There Herb met Eleanor Roosevelt, who was visiting the interned children who had been left homeless by the war. In 1949, when Herb was 13 years old, the family came to America. Although not yet speaking English, Herb studied at the Salanter Yeshiva, a Hebrew primary school in the Bronx and was then accepted into New York City's Music and Art Performing High School. He would go on to play 10 instruments and speak 11 languages.
In 1955 Herb served in the United States Marine Corp. He later graduated Hunter College, spent a year in law school, but decided his first love was medicine. In 1960 he left for Germany, where he attended Medical School at the University of Heidelberg.
In 1961, he married Ina Kaufman. They had met five years earlier in the Bronx when Ina was just 16 years old. Ina was the love of Herb's life and they remained happily married for 52 years.
Upon his graduating Medical School at Heidelberg, Herb and Ina, returned to America with their son, Harley, and daughter, Rachel. His third child, Benjamin, passed shortly after birth.
In the course of a distinguished medical career, Dr. Breite became the Head of Emergency Medicine at The Robert Packer Hospital/Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, Pennsylvania. There he saved many lives over 22 years as an Emergency Room Physician.
To further honor his debt to this country, Herb enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in 1981 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was activated during Desert Storm and placed in charge of emergency medicine at The Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. While in the Reserves he received numerous awards, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Army Reserves Components Achievement Medal.
Herb spent the last 20 years happily retired with Ina. He studied widely in world cultures and languages, maintaining many close friendships across the globe. He touched countless lives, was dearly loved, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Dr. Breite is survived by his loving wife, Ina, his daughter, Rachel Breite of Nutley, and his son and daughter-in-law, Harley Breite and Jane de Santana Breite of Wayne.
A Chapel Service at the funeral home will take place on Sunday January 19th at 10AM with interment to follow at Menorah Cemetery - Clifton, NJ
Jewish Memorial Chapel
841 Allwood Rd
Clifton, NJ 07012
Published in The Record on Jan. 18, 2014