“My memoir should be titled ‘I’ve Been Lucky,’” said Albrecht Benno Strauss, who escaped from Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933, found refuge in America, served in the U.S. Army in WW II, and became a Professor of English at UNC-CH.
Albrecht, 93, died at home in Chapel Hill on May 7, 2015. He was born in Berlin May 17, 1921, to Dr. Bertha Badt-Strauss and Dr. Bruno Strauss. In 1933, Albrecht’s parents sent him to London where he lived at the Regent’s Park School, attending the Jewish Secondary School and Latymer Upper Boys School.
Leaving Berlin in 1939, his parents settled in Shreveport, LA, where his father taught at Centenary College.
After receiving a B.A. from Oberlin College, Albrecht served in the 798th AAA Bn in France and Germany before entering the Counterintelligence Service, interrogating Nazis as well as administering a prison in Ludwigsburg for SS officials.
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Albrecht shared the desire of many war veterans: To build a more humane world. With an M.A. in English from Tulane and a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, he taught at Brandeis, Yale, and the Univ. of Oklahoma before joining the Dept. of English at UNC-CH in 1960. His particular interest was 18th Century British Literature, especially the works of Samuel Johnson. Albrecht was a Fulbright Fellow and exchange professor at the University of Erlangen. Following retirement from UNC-CH, he taught at Duke’s DILR (now OLLI) until he was 85.
At age 57, he married Nancy and reared three daughters, saying: “I always thought I was a family man; I was just slow.” Albrecht is survived by his wife of 36 years, Nancy Barron Strauss, and his three children, Carolyn Goldstein (Jeffrey), Kathryn Merkel (Hugh), and Rebecca Handler (Benjamin), and grandchildren: Elizabeth, Solomon, Abigail Rose, Hugh and Asher.
Burial was May 8 at the Durham Hebrew Cemetery. Donations may be made in Albrecht’s memory to the Endowment Fund of Beth El Synagogue of Durham or the Alzheimer’s Asso., www.alz.org.
The Strauss family is under the care of Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home. Online condolences may be submitted at www.howertonbryan.com