Gene Simmons Learns about Mother Flora Klein’s Statement as a Concentration Camp Survivor
Gene Simmons was born to his Jewish mother, Flora Klein, in 1949. She was his mentor and moral compass until her passing.
Flora was a Holocaust survivor, only liberated in 1945. But she hardly talked about that with Gene.
The KISS singer found out about the atrocities his mother faced only after her death.
Gene Simmons's Discovery of His Mother
Flora passed away in 2018. He lost a great supporter when she died.
She also took her experiences at the concentration camps with her. Gene hardly knew anything about what she had been through in those camps.
In 2020, he got a chance to know that painful history. That year, he had sat down with German newspaper BILD for an interview.
During their conversation, he revealed being in the dark about his mom's past. This prompted the interviewers to search for his mother's history during WWII.
The search resulted in the unearthing of many documents regarding his mom and the overall history of what she went through. Gene wanted to know everything.
The publication had prepared a folder for him. There were about 100 pages for him to read, all of which he read, line by line.
The digging the journalists did for him was quite extensive.
His folder contained the lists of people who were in those camps, files from the International Red Cross, and records of the time US soldiers liberated her mother from the Mauthausen concentration camp on May 5, 1945.
Further, he got to read Flora's letters to a German government agency.
Flora was 19 when she was liberated. Following that, she remarried and applied for compensation for her treatment under Hitler's rule.
She recounted in those letters her time before the persecutions of Jews began. She was living in Budapest in 1944 and was segregated and mistreated by the German authorities, as were all Jews living in the city.
In November 1944, she was brought to the Ravensbruck concentration camp and was given a number: 85570.
That later changed to 621010 when she was again moved to Venusberg subcamp of the Flossenburg concentration camp on January 15, 1945.
Flora was moved for a third and final time to Mauthausen. She got there in March 1945 and remained there until her liberation in May.
Gene Simmons with his mother Flora Klein when he was very young. (Photo: Gene Simmons/Instagram)
Mauthausen was the last big camp to get liberated, just days before WWII ended.
In the final few words of her accounts, Flora mentioned that she had lost her parents and her brother to the persecution.
Gene's grandmother, Ester Blau, was painfully taken from Flora. The older people were taken to the gas chambers first.
She also recalled her final conversation with her mother before she was taken to the chambers.
Flora lied to save herself. The authorities sent every Jew who spoke and understood German to the gas chambers. She understood and spoke a little, but remained mum.
Gene Simmons's Mother's Life after Holocaust
Following her liberation in May 1945, she was admitted to the 130th Evacuation hospital near Mauthausen. She was diagnosed with malnutrition.
"Till the end, she always gave me an apple or something else to eat when I visited her," Gene recalled during his interview with BILD.
After recovering, Flora went back to Hungary in 1946. There, she married Gene's father, carpenter Jechiel Witz.
The next year, she moved to Israel. Two years later, Gene was born.
However, her marriage did not survive past a couple of years, and they divorced in 1955. The mother-son duo struggled for almost a decade — she worked in a cafe with no wealth.
Then, in 1958, she took along her eight-year-old son and set off for New York. Life has gotten better for them since.
Flora lived long enough to see Gene become a legend selling 100 million records. After a life with a lot of pain, she went without it, peacefully, at 93 in December 2018.