In honor of National Inventor’s Month, meet legendary toymaker Henry Orenstein. Henry was born on September, 13 1923 in Hrubieszów, Poland. During WWII, Henry first evaded the Nazis in secret hiding spots between double walls in his family’s house. He then found refuge with Yekaterina Lipinskaya, a Righteous Gentile in the town of Uściług who hid Jews in the haystack behind her house. A short while later, Lipinskaya escorted Henry and his brothers to the Bug River where they hoped to find safety on the other side. But, they were soon captured by the Nazis and deported to the camps. Henry survived 5 concentration camps, including Budzyń, Majdanek, Płaszów, Ravensbrück, and Sachsenhausen. In 1948, he emigrated to the U.S. where he became a successful toymaker. He founded Topper Toys and holds over 100 patents, including for Transformers, Suzy Cute Dolls, and Johnny Lightning cars! Henry is also best known in the poker industry as the inventor of the hole card camera, which revolutionized the game as we know it. He is in both the Poker Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame. Henry, now 96 years old, has experienced so much horror in his life. Yet, his toys and creative inventions continue to bring joy to millions all over the world. 

Source: American Society for Yad Vashem
Photo: Newsweek

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