University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies



My life story has not been easy to express, because it is a sad story. However, I decided to share my autobiography so that any readers will be able to comprehend how people tried to survive day after day under terrible circumstances. 1 hope that people will never forget the suffering of World War II and that they will appreciate living free in the United States of America.


Following high-school graduation, Murray Brandys attended the University of Minnesota for over a year, then took his first job as an assistant buyer at Supak and Sons, which manufactured children's clothing. In 1953, friend Hart Hasten set up Murray on a blind date with Marlene Broude, a young woman who turned out to be in his choir at Beth El Synagogue. (He's been singing in the choir since 1948.) Murray and Marlene hit it off, continued dating, became engaged and married on April 4, 1954.

When they returned from their honeymoon at a beautiful resort in Wisconsin, Murray assumed he'd find his job and a bonus waiting. Unfortunately, while they were traveling, Supak and Sons had moved the company to Alabama. Murray, ever industrious, quickly landed a job at the Fairyland Toy Company, beginning at $20 a week and proving himself so invaluable that he was taking home $75 a week in three months.

Throughout his career, Murray was a successful businessman, working as a production manager with ever greater responsibilities at such firms as Crestline Products, Globe Master, Twin City Sign, and Dynamic Merchandising, from which he retired in 1990 as vice president of production.

Murray is most proud of his family, both immediate and extended. Son Howard serves as an actuary in Brooklyn, New York, living with his wife, Carol, and children, Levi (10) and Yitzchok (3). Daughter Cheryl, an advertising journalist and accomplished salesperson in women's attire, lives in Chicago with her husband, Howard, and sons, Alex (11) and Jordan (6).

Marlene, Murray's wife, was a full-time mother to her children. In addition, she has been and remains a committed nursing home volunteer and avid reader.

She and Murray look forward to their children's and grandchildren's visits and to visiting them at their homes. Murray particularly enjoys taking his grandsons trickĀ„orĀ„treating. Murray is also a bit of a Renaissance man, teaching himself to cook after retirement, gardening not only in his yard but at two plots in a community garden, canning garlicky pickles every summer, working out at a nearby club and sometimes taking a temporary job.

But sometimes at night, Murray wonders what he's accomplished with his life. It is then, he says, that "I think of my family and of bringing my brothers, Adam and Jacob, and their families to the United States to make a life here." Back in 1954, Murray enlisted Hubert Humphrey to help him. Murray did the legwork and the paperwork, filling out forms and taking out loans to assist them.

Jacob came over in 1956 from Israel, followed in 1957 by his wife, Bianca, and children; Morris and Sol. They settled in Minneapolis. Today, Sol works as a strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

About 10 years later, Murray and Jacob repeated this process for Adam, who had been working as an international soccer referee in Poland. Things were growing worse there, and he and his wife, Hanka, were ready to leave. They settled in Chicago in 1967. Adam served as a cantor at a Jewish nursing home there for 30 years. Their children include Henry, a bank vice-president; Zenon, who owns an insurance company; and Renia, who is a sales representative.

Murray and Marlene Brandys live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Note: Many concentration camp prisoners, like myself, had assumed younger ages because they were afraid of being killed if they were over age 20 or 30. Following liberation, survivors were fearful of contradicting camp records and possibly jeopardizing their chances for admission to the United States. So they repeated their misstatements to naturalization authorities. Eventually, the U.S. Social Security Administration made special arrangements for Holocaust survivors who had difficulty documenting their eligibility for benefits, because they had lied about their ages when inside concentration camps. The change in policy was the work of U.S. Representative Bill Hughes (D-N.J.) and U.S. Senator Richard Schweiker (R.-Pa.).

- M. B.

Murray portrays a father-in-law in Twenty-thousand(above) and with the full cast (below); a father in Forbidding Marriage (right, above); and a matchmaker in Tovia the Milkman (right, below).  All were productions at Ainring, Murray's second displaced person's camp.

Murray (above, left) dons cap and gown with friends for high-school graduation, then celebrates with his foster family and friends (below).

Joseph Scheineman and baby in Brooklyn, 1948.