“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. Born May 17, 1921, in Berlin to Dr. Bertha Badt-Strauss of Breslau, and Dr. Bruno Strauss of Marburg. In 1933, Albrecht’s parents sent him to the London home of Mr. Sid Hyams. Later, he lived at the Regent’s Park School established for refugee children by Dr. and Mrs. Bruno Shindler and attended the Jewish Secondary School and Latymer Upper Boys School.
His parents left Berlin in 1939, a week before WW II began. They settled in Shreveport, LA, where his father taught at Centenary College.
After receiving a B.A. from Oberlin College, Albrecht volunteered for the U.S. Army, serving in the 798th AAA Bn in France and Germany until entering the Counterintelligence service, interrogating Nazis as well as administering a prison in Ludwigsburg for SS officials.
He earned an M.A. in English at Tulane University and a Ph.D. in English from Harvard. Albrecht shared the desire of many war veterans: to build a more humane world. He taught at Brandeis, Yale, and the University of Oklahoma before joining the Department 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.
Graveside service 12 noon, Friday, May 8, at the Durham Hebrew Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Endowment Fund of Beth El Synagogue of Durham.
The Strauss family is under the care of Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home. Online condolences may be submitted at www.howertonbryan.com