While teens in the U.S. were living the American lifestyle, Siggi and his family had been deported to Auschwitz. Using his wits and by feigning usable trade skills and enduring near starvation and death marches, Siggi survived and was eventually liberated.
Through his work hunting Nazis with the US Army, he earned a US visa. By shoveling snow, working in sweatshops and Siggi worked his way up to becoming a NY Stock Exchange CEO and creator of a commercial bank with assets of over four billion dollars.
The entire story is recounted in Unstoppable, an epic Jewish biography, an unbelievable true story of a survivor and self-made entrepreneur.
Siegbert Wilzig was born in West Prussia in 1926 to a decorated veteran of WW1. After transportation to Auschwitz in 1943, where his mother immediately went to the gas chamber and his father died in his arms from a soldier bludgeoning, Siegbert endured 23 months of internment, surviving by pretending to be a master toolmaker. Upon liberation, he spent two years assisting the U.S. in finding Nazis and Gestapo, after which, he arrived in America with little money and no connections.
Siggi Wilzig worked as a snow shoveler, bow tie presser, traveling loose-leaf binder salesman, furniture store manager and many other jobs till marrying and starting a family with three children.
In the 1960s, Wilzig started investing in stocks, particularly, the Wilshire Oil Company. By leading a proxy battle with relatives and friends, Wilzig became an elected company board member and soon after, CEO and president at 39.
After Wilshire acquired a major share in the Trust Company of New Jersey commercial bank, the Jewish entrepreneur became director and later president, growing bank assets from a start of $181 million to over $4 billion over the following thirty years.
Siggi Wilzig, in addition to business interests, was active in philanthropic and humanitarian causes, in particular, Holocaust-related efforts.
The Jewish entrepreneur was appointed a Holocaust Memorial Council founding member in Washington in 1980. He lectured at West Point, the first survivor of the Holocaust to do so, and Wilzig became a Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law fellow and founding director.
An Unbelievable True Story
Unstoppable, an epic Jewish biography by Joshua M. Greene, tells the story of Siggi Wilzig’s rise from a teenage Holocaust survivor to the builder of an American banking and oil industry empire. Visit unstoppablesiggi to order a copy today.
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