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Maurice Max "Mo" Kornberg


1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Maurice Max "Mo" Kornberg Obituary
May 12, 1926 - April 4, 2016 Maurice Max Kornberg, born to Isaac and Miriam in Paris, France on May 12, 1926 spent his early days like most other young boys of the time. A brilliant student, mischief-maker, exceptional athlete, and joker, he was the son of hard-working parents and a proud older brother to Bernard, who was 6 years his junior. With the German occupation in 1941, his family fled Paris and moved to Perpignan in the south of France, which was not yet occupied, to try to weather the war. He continued to live an innocuous life in hiding until March 2, 1943, when he was called to the principal's office of his school. He was the captain of his school's basketball team with a big game approaching, and he thought he was called out to represent his team. He was greeted by two Gestapo agents, and despite his efforts to avoid the encounter, he was thrown into a prison cell with his parents and younger brother, with his aunt, uncle and 6-year-old cousin in the next cell. He later learned that they had been denounced, by those whom they trusted. After a week in prison and 3 months of life at an internment camp in Drancy, he was transported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he watched his mother and brother march to the gas chambers and rise to the clouds in a trail of smoke. He witnessed the murder of his family at the hands of the Nazis; he was the sole survivor of approximately sixty (60) family members. He was branded # 126038 on his forearm and miraculously survived for over 2 years in the misery of Auschwitz, Dachau, and the Warsaw Ghetto to be liberated by the Americans, in 1945. Maurice arose from the ashes of the war an orphan, living alone in Paris. He implicated and witnessed the trial and conviction of those that denounced his family. Trying to find himself, he found the love of his life, Louise, in Paris and they were inseparable from the start. He emigrated to the United States in June 1947, and Louise followed a year later. They married in New York and started their family in the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn. He witnessed the growth of his family with the birth of children - Marian (1950), Howard (1953) and Scott (1957). He learned the "schmatta" (clothing) business as a cutter, and mastered his trade. Seeking a brighter future, he bravely moved his young family to California in 1959 with meager savings, and established his own clothing factory, working hard to achieve the American Dream. The birth of his youngest child, Paul (1967) marked a new chapter of his life, and he cherished his family and life in Los Angeles. An avid basketball player from his youth in France, "Mo", as he was known among the basketball players, continued to play pickup games regularly at local parks and synagogues well into his eighties. He earned the respect of all that he encountered, on and off the basketball court. He was tenacious and intellectual in the way he liked to live his life and play ball. Maurice became a real estate investor and retired at 50 from the fashion industry to become a successful entrepreneur. Maurice's remarkable journey came to a close on April 4, 2016, when he passed away quietly in his home, after battling with lymphoma. He is preceded by his son, Scott Charles Kornberg, only 13 months earlier. He is survived by his cherished wife, Louise, his children Marian, Howard, and Paul, daughters-in-law Iris, Elyssa, and Amy, his grandchildren, Shawna, Allison, Matthew, Zak, Micah, Isabelle, Jonah and Grayson, and his great-granddaughter, Mia. He took great joy in watching his grandchildren and great-granddaughter grow and develop. He instilled his priorities in all of his children and grandchildren - education, hard work, humility, honesty, and resilience. All of those who were fortunate enough to meet Maurice were touched by his character, strength, and sense of humor. His memory will be carried in all of our hearts for time immemorial. A Memorial Book with Maurice's powerful writings are available on Maurice Kornberg's Facebook page. He also told his Holocaust story to the Shoah Foundation.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 16 to Apr. 24, 2016
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