This is Flora Klein and her son Gene Simmons. Born in Hungary in 1925, Flora was just 14 years old when she and her family were sent to Nazi concentration camps. She and her brother, Larry, were the only ones to survive. In 1946, Flora married Jechiel Witz and the two moved to Israel and started a family. In August 1949, she gave birth to Gene Simmons, (b. Chaim Witz) in Haifa. By 1958, Flora had divorced Jechiel and moved with Gene to Queens, New York. Simmons has always been close with his mother; she always supported her son on his path to success as frontman for KISS, the rock band he co-founded in the early 1970’s. Flora passed away in December 2018 at the age of 93.
“My mother told me why she had survived. When she was a 12-year-old girl, she came to a hairdresser and learned how to cut hair. The SS commander’s wife needed someone to do her hair. She asked several girls: ‘Do you speak German?’ The girls raised their hands and said ‘Yes’. Whoever raised their hand was sent to the gas chamber. My mother spoke a little German, but she didn’t say so. That was the reason for why she was chosen. When she was doing the hair, the commander’s wife thought she wouldn’t understand anything. But she did.”