The Vintage Fashion Guild received a letter last month from the son of another Holocaust survivor, cashmere maker Bernhard Altmann. Altmann was a successful knitwear maker in Austria in the 1930s, but because of the German Anschluss, fled Austria. His brother was captured by the Nazis and put into a prison until Altmann signed over his business, and the family their valuable art collection. He was able to get enough capital to start a business in Liverpool, England, but he had to abandon it after U.K. Enemy Alien Act of 1939 in which all nationals of enemy countries had to withdraw from coastline cities in three days after the declaration of war. They did not distinguish between Germans and displaced Austrian Jews, whose country had been absorbed into Germany.
Altmann then went to the US, where in 1943, his preserverence paid off. He started yet another company, and in 1947, started manufacturing cashmere sweaters. His Bernhard Altmann label became one of the leading cashmere labels in the US, with a branch factory in Vienna. I found his story of triumph over adversity to be truly inspiring!