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William H. "Bill" Kisch

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Kisch William H. "Bill" Kisch, age 101, died Saturday, March 25, 2017. Bill was born on March 25, 1916 in Munsterberg, Germany (now Poland) into a family that ran a chain-link business. He dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but quit school at age 16 in 1932 because of anti-Semitic bullying. By 1938 Bill was working in the family business that was seized by the Nazis. He was determined to find a way out so he went to Berlin, stayed with a Jewish family, hoping to visit a foreign embassy. Only 2 days later on November 9, he awoke to the sound of breaking glass when a furniture store across the street had its windows smashed and furniture turned into firewood, a night which came to be known as Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass. A telegram he sent home betrayed his Berlin address leading to his arrest and sending to the Sachsensenhausen concentration camp where he did forced labor and observed hangings and other fatal beatings. A relative who had fled to Cuba bought a travel visa for him leading to his release with orders to leave Germany within three weeks. He was able to immigrate to Cuba shortly before Germany persuaded Cuba to reject more Jewish refugees. Bill spent two years in Cuba on a farm for refugees operated by American Quakers. He came to the United States in 1941, worked at a Pennsylvania factory, became a naturalized citizen and was drafted into the Army. He married Jean Kay of Columbus, became a photographer and then for many years a mail carrier in Bexley, from which he retired. Mrs. Kisch preceded him in death in 1992 after 50 years of marriage. Bill became a resident of Kensington Place in 1993, an independent living facility in Bexley, until his death. Bill is survived by niece, Vera Ballin Vanden; nephews, Jonathan Vanden, David Vanden, Michael Marks, Burrell Bloch and Howard Bloch; niece, Audrey Krebs; great nieces, Andrea Kay and Lindsay Marks. He was preceded in death by a sister Lydia Kisch Ballin, niece Stefanie (Leonard) Lisa Marks, and great niece Micki Kay. Bill was a frequent volunteer at Wexner Heritage House and enjoyed many years as a member of a walking club. He was loved by Jennifer and Carl Fischer who cared for him as a family member and whom Bill regarded as his family, by his frequent breakfast friend, Jack Gold, by Flo Boswell, a Kensington resident and frequent dinner companion, his many friends and staff at Kensington Place, and by the caregivers at Zusman Hospice. Graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 30 at New Agudas Achim Cemetery, 2565 Performance Way. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to Zusman Hospice. Online guestbook at www.epsteinmemorial.com

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Mar. 28, 2017
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