Severin Fayerman, age 92, of Muhlenberg Township, passed away on January 12th at 1:54 p.m. in his home surrounded by his loving family.
Severin was born in Bendzin, Poland, four years after the end of World War I. For four generations, his family had been involved in the manufacture of hardware, beginning from a small blacksmith shop in the mid-1800s to the manufacturer of builders' hardware, bolts and nuts at the start of World War II.
The Nazis confiscated the business, which at that time employed 300 employees. The Fayerman family was arrested and sent to forced labor camps. Severin, separated from his family, endured the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, among others, relying on his skills, his knowledge of 5 languages and ingenuity to survive.
After the war, Severin worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) helping reunite displaced families.
The Fayerman family was reunited in Salzburg, Austria, and in 1946 the family immigrated to Newark, New Jersey.
There, they pooled their resources to purchase a small tool and die shop named Baldwin Tool & Die. With the dream of a bigger and better business, they moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1956 and the company was renamed Baldwin Hardware Manufacturing Corporation.
In Reading, the Fayermans found a wealth of talented and skillful craftsmen. Phenomenal growth ensued: At its peak the company employed 1700 people in the Reading area and the company was recognized worldwide as producers of the finest hardware.
In 1982, Baldwin gave up its status as a family owned business and became part of Masco Corporation. Currently, the company is owned by Spectrum Brands HHI with production in Nogales, Mexico.
Severin self-published his personal memoir in 1999, "A Survivor's Story." Last year, he produced a documentary DVD of the same name.
For the past 10 years, Severin had been a public speaker at numerous schools, colleges, organizations and veterans' events describing his concentration camp experiences.
Throughout his career, Severin had been the recipient of many prestigious awards, some of which are the Red Cross Henry Dunant Society Award, United Way Doran Award, Thun Philanthropic Award and the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame Award.
Severin is survived by his wife, Toni J. (Hunter) Fayerman; his son, Peter Severin Fayerman, husband of Donna (Raab) Fayerman of Wellington, Florida; and his daughter, Kristine Emelia Fayerman-Piatt, wife of Thomas J. Piatt of Milton, Massachusetts. He is also survived by his step-daughters: Kelli J. Gouker of Mountville, Pennsylvania; Kari L. Neira of Landisville, Pennsylvania; Kate L. Neira of Mountville, Pennsylvania; and his step-son, George S. Neira, husband of Amy L. Neira of Salunga, Pennsylvania.
Severin is also survived by his grandchildren: Lauren Elizabeth Fayerman, Karen Fayerman Piatt and Neil Fayerman Piatt, along with his step-grandchildren: Michael A. Gouker, Max R. Gouker and Nicholas C. Neira.
Celebration of Life Tribute Service will be held in Bean Funeral Homes & Crematory, 3825 Penn Ave., Sinking Spring, Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Karen Barshinger will officiate. Interment will be held privately by the family. The family will receive relatives and friends Friday, January 30, 2015 from 5-8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9-10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Red Cross Berks County Chapter, 701 Centre Ave., Reading, PA 19601 in memory of Mr. Severin Fayerman.
Online condolences may be made at www.beanfuneralhomes.com.