ALERT

New Location

AHEC staff is currently working from our new location on Highland Avenue, with teacher and community programs being hosted on-site. We are currently taking limited group tours and will be open by appointment to the general public soon. For more information, contact us at info@ahecinfo.org or 205.795.4176.

1970 - 2020

Stan Minkinow

Biography

Born on October 6, 1932, Stan was the only child of a Jewish mother and a Greek Orthodox father who converted to Judaism. Living a very comfortable, non-religious life, Stan watched from the sidelines as Jews, including his wealthy maternal grandfather, Hein, were transported to the Łódź Ghetto. Stan’s family was temporarily spared by claiming Russian heritage. Two years later, on January 13, 1942, they were taken as well, able to bring only the coats on their backs. As a convert, Stan’s father could have remained on the outside, but chose to stay with his family. Stan remembers being received by the Chairman of the Jewish Council, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, moving into his grandfather’s small room, and having to wear the Star of David for the first time.

Rumor had it that if you had money, you could buy anything in the Warsaw Ghetto, so this was the preferred place to be. The Minkinows bribed their way out of the Łódź Ghetto for $300 in gold. Stan recalls the SS using dogs and whips to hurry the prisoners onto the trucks that would transport them to Warsaw. His father shielded him and his mother by climbing on top of them.

The family made a daring escape from the Warsaw Ghetto. Without even a suitcase, they approached the gate guarded by three policemen:  one Jewish, one Polish, and the third, German. Stan’s father showed the German his passport, while his mother showed the Pole a booklet with cash inside. The family fled to the village of Radość, outside Warsaw, renting an apartment using their maid’s last name and living as Poles.

After the Russians liberated Poland, Stan’s father was arrested for his involvement with the Polish government in exile. After a year, in yet another escape, Stan’s mother bribed a Polish guard to take her husband to Berlin. Stan recalls hearing gun shots as he and his mother were smuggled across the border sometime later. For a short time after the war, the family lived in a DP camp in Berlin. Stan learned that is grandfather, Hein, had died at Auschwitz.

In 1948, working and attending school in Bad Reichenhall near Munich, Stan saw a U.S. Army recruiting film. Unable to speak English, but ready for a new challenge, he enlisted in the US military, earning his American citizenship under the Lodge Act. He met his wife, Doris Elaine, at a U.S.O. dance, and in 1955 they were married and later had three children. Stan completed a distinguished twenty-seven year Army career and retired to Huntsville, Alabama, where he opened Alexander’s Jewelry.

 

Addendum: Stan Minkinow passed away on August 29, 2020.

Darkness Into Life

Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum.

Online Exhibit

More Information

Name in US
Stanley (Stan) Minkinow
Name at Birth
Stanislaus Nikonorow (Nikonorov)
Parents' Name

Zofia (Zophie, Sofia) Minkinow (1910-?) and Aleksander Nikonorow (1907-1984)

Date of Birth - Note
October 6, 1932
Country of Birth
Poland
City of Birth
Łódź
Spouse(s) Name(s)

Doris Elaine Gers
(1933-2018)
Married January 25, 1955 in Raleigh, NC

Children's Names

Kim Anna Minkinow (Kirby Gaudin)
Born 1956, Munich

Ted H. Minkinow (Nikki)
Born 1958, Munich

Amy Minkinow (Joe Frisk)
Born 1960, Ft. Riley, Kansas

Ghetto(s) / Year(s)

Lodz Ghetto, February 13, 1942
Warsaw Ghetto, August 1942-1943

Hiding or Living under False Identity (Location/Year)
Radosc, Poland (suburb of Warsaw), 1943-45 - lived incognito as Poles
DP Camp(s) / Year(s)

December 1945-January 1946 / Schlachtensee, Germany (near Berlin)

January 1946-March 1947 / Laufen, Gemany (near Salzburg)

March 1947-September 1951 / Freilassing, Germany

September 1951-?? / Reichenhall, Germany (near Salzburg)

March 1947-September 1951 / Freilassing, Germany

Other Experiences

Sometime after Stan’s father was arrested, Stan and his mother changed their name to her maiden name, Minkinow, for safety.
His parents divorced sometime after that.

Joined US Army in November 1952 and became member of the newly created elite Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, NC. After marrying, the US Army sent Sergeant Minkinow back to German where he became an American Cold Warrior serving on the front lines. He served with the 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Tolz from 1955-58. He completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry. After a tour in Korea, he completed Army flight school at Fort Rucker, AL, and became an Army aviator. Stan settled his family in Enterprise, AL, while he twice fought for his country in Vietnam. Cited by the US Army for valor in combat and service, Stan received numerous medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and the Air Medal.

Year / City / Ship to US
January 26, 1953 / New York, NY / USS General McRay
Date Moved to Alabama
1977
Alabama City of Residence
Huntsville
Date of Death
August 29, 2020
City of Death
Huntsville, AL
Dates Lived in Alabama
1977-2020

Resources