Holocaust Survivor, father, grandfather and friend to our community Henry Kress (nee Heniek Krzesiwo) passed away Saturday, August 17th, 2019 at the age of 95. Henry passed peacefully at home on his own time and will, knowing how loved he was by his family.
Born on July 26, 1924, Henry was brought up by a loving and devoted mother, Helena Krzesiwo and father Ignacy Krzesiwo. Born in Sosnowiec, Poland, Henry illustrated an early childhood filled with joy, laughter, and Jewish tradition.
In 1943, Henry was sent to Nazi death camp Auschwitz, where most of his family perished. In January 1945, he escaped from the Nazi Death March as the Russians were approaching and the end of war was near. Reunited with his sister Esther after the war, Henry was left with nothing to start his new life.
On January 13, 1951, Henry married the love of his life, Mary Kress, also a Holocaust Survivor, in New York. They moved to Los Angeles with Mary’s mother Etta Lesczyck, where they raised their dear son and daughter, Philip and Helena. Henry was a well-known and successful salesman, representing men’s fashion lines. In later years, Henry and Mary moved to Irvine where they lived close to their children and grandchildren. They enjoyed a wonderful life with family at the center of everything.
Henry was a pillar in his community with a strong presence at the JCC in Irvine, strong roots with Chapman University Roger’s Center for Holocaust Education, The 1939 Club, The ADL and other groups of Holocaust Survivors who dedicated their lives to education and remembrance. Henry’s spirit lives on in his son Philip Kress, daughter Helena Melmet, grandchildren Kimberly Kress-Cobbs, Caitlin Kress Sharpe, Elyssa Melmet and Zachary Melmet, and his daughter-in-law Daryl Kress and son-in-law Steven Melmet. We kindly ask that donations be made in Henry’s honor to Chapman University Roger’s Center for Holocaust Education. May his memory be a blessing."