Martin Greenfield has lived through more than any person should experience, but now, he couldn’t be more grateful.
Life is good for the owner of Martin Greenfield Clothiers in Brooklyn, New York. Not only does the 88-year-old have a reputation as one of the best tailors in the U.S., but he’s made suits for presidents! It’s a long cry from his grueling days repairing clothes in Auschwitz.
Martin was born Maxmilian Grunfeld in 1928, growing up in what was then Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia. At 14, he and his entire family were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Martin was the only one to survive.
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Put to work in the camp’s tailor shop, Martin had to learn quickly, as he had no sewing experience. But he found he enjoyed working with clothing. It became his reprieve, and empowered him to keep holding on throughout his years in confinement.
Martin was eventually transferred to Buchenwald, which was liberated in 1945. At 15 years old, he was finally free. Martin will never forget the moment he shook General Eisenhower’s hand and said, “You saved my life.” Years later, he thanked Eisenhower with a three-piece suit.
Martin immigrated to the U.S. two years later, where he changed his name and got a job at a New York garment factory. Seeing his potential, the owner helped him climb the ranks, teaching him every job until 1977, when Martin purchased the factory. Today, both of his sons, Jay and Tod, work there. And their father has spent more than 70 years creating custom suits for some of the country’s biggest names!
Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have worn his suits. Martin’s clients also include celebrities Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Paul Newman, and Jimmy Fallon!
Decades after losing his family and freedom, Martin couldn’t be happier with where he is now. While his past will always be painful, moving the U.S. helped him create a happy future.
“The country is unbelievable for me. I know a lot about this country but I want to know more,” he told ABC News. “There isn’t an American born in the United States who likes this country more than Martin Greenfield. I love this country.”
What a man — and what a story! After everything he’s survived, Martin deserves the happy life he’s built. He certainly earned it!
Learn more about how Martin found his dream career in the video below, and share his story to inspire others!
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