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Siggi’s Life & Legacy

While American teens were socializing in ice cream parlors, Siggi was suffering beatings by Nazi hoodlums for being a Jew and was soon deported along with his family to the darkest place the world has ever known: Auschwitz. Siggi used his wits to stay alive, pretending to have trade skills the Nazis could exploit to run the camp. After two death marches and near starvation, he was liberated from camp Mauthausen and went to work for the US Army hunting Nazis, a service that earned him a visa to America. On arrival, he made three vows: to never go hungry again, to support the Jewish people, and to speak out against injustice. He earned his first dollar shoveling snow after a fierce blizzard. His next job was laboring in toxic sweatshops. From these humble beginnings, he became president, chairman and CEO of a New York Stock Exchange-listed oil company and grew a full-service commercial bank to more than $4 billion in assets.

1932: Siegbert, age six, holds a candy-filled cardboard cone, a traditional gift from parents, to celebrate a German child’s first day of school.

One of Siggi’s earliest jobs in America was that of a traveling salesman.

Siggi with Governor Byrne

By helping Governor Byrne get elected, Siggi had his pick of political appointments. He chose to become the first Jew to be on the New Jersey State Banking Advisory Board.

Wilshire Oil, headed by CEO Siggi B. Wilzig, was the first-ever to sue the Federal Reserve. Far left: Rodgin Cohen, attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell, who represented Siggi and Wilshire Oil in 1972. Far-right: “Tall Paul” Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Siggi was the first Holocaust survivor to lecture at West Point Military Academy.

The entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp where Siggi was a prisoner for almost two years.

The entire Wilzig family at a black-tie affair. Siggi, standing on the left; youngest son, Alan, standing on the right; wife, Naomi, sitting on the left; daughter Sherry, seated center; eldest son, Ivan, sitting far right.

Siggi in Boardroom

Siggi B. Wilzig, president, chairman of the board, and CEO of the Trust Company of New Jersey and Wilshire Oil Company of Texas.

Left to right: Siggi & Naomi Wilzig, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and wife, Marion Wiesel. In 1978, Siggi and Elie were both appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the President’s Commission on the Holocaust.

Siggi’s son, Ivan (centered), convinced Director Stephen Spielberg to videotape his dying father’s testimony for Mr. Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation. Ivan’s brother Alan (left) accompanied him on this mission.

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