US Army Liberating Dachau in 1945 (allowed Commodore Computers to exist)

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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There was much vengeance against the German SS troops (which were war crimes) by US troops and other really crazy events during the liberation 75 years ago this past April 29th, none of which I'd ever heard about. I knew Jack Tramiel's story which isn't mentioned in the video.

US Army Liberating Dachau in 1945 (allowed Commodore Computers to exist)

The Survivors: From depths of Auschwitz to height of computer industry
17 Apr 1998

Jack Tramiel has a bottom line: "Even if you came out from hell, you can still make it."

Tramiel, founder and former president of Commodore International Ltd. and former chairman of Atari, knows about hell.

The native of Lodz, Poland, survived a crowded ghetto, then Auschwitz and a forced-labor camp in Germany from which only about 60 out of 10,000 inmates emerged alive.

At the camp, the teenage Tramiel watched his father die after guards injected gasoline into his veins to quicken his demise. The Nazis forced Tramiel and his fellow prisoners to dig their own graves; miraculously, the war ended just in time to save them from the pit. Upon being liberated, Tramiel weighed about 70 pounds.

Like a number of survivors whose stories are being told this week during Yom HaShoah commemorations, Tramiel went on not only to re-establish his life but also to thrive. He built a formidable reputation for himself as an ambitious, tough-minded leader in the consumer electronics industry. At Commodore's peak, before Tramiel left in 1984, the now-defunct company was a leading player in the personal computer revolution, surpassing its competition in technical acumen and sales.

"I like to go forward, not backward," says the 69-year-old survivor, now a semi-retired resident of Monte Sereno, near San Jose. A father of three sons, he says, "The most important thing to me was to succeed, to build a new life."

Build a new life he did. Shortly after arriving in this country in 1947, Tramiel (pronounced truh-MEEL) joined the Army — in part, he says, to give back to an institution whose members risked their lives to liberate him and others like him.

Stationed in New York City, he was trained to repair typewriters. After completing his service, he put that knowledge to use, setting up his own small typewriter repair and sales shop in the Bronx, and driving a cab on the side to make ends meet.

Over time, the determined survivor with a fifth-grade education transformed his typewriter business into a manufacturer of electronics products. Commodore, as the company became known, adopted Tramiel's motto: "Computers for the masses, not the classes." In 1977, the company unveiled the Personal Electronic Transactor, a personal computer known as PET.

Believing that the broad knowledge available through computers can help prevent mistakes of the past, Tramiel tapped Germany as his first marketing venue for PET outside the United States.