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Egon J. Salmon, who fled Nazi Germany with his family as a young boy, educated thousands on the lessons of the Holocaust by openly sharing his story, and established himself as a Staten Island community leader as founder of the borough’s oldest independent real estate firm, died on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at his home in Maplewood, N.J. He was 98.

Holocaust survivor and WWII US Army veteran Egon J. Salmon when he was honored at his alma mater New Dorp High School in 2019. (Shira Stoll/Staten Island Advance)

Born in Germany in 1924, Egon was nine when Adolf Hitler came to power. His father Paul was in the textile goods business in Rheydt, Germany. On Kristallnacht, the Nazis arrested Paul and sent him to Dachau. Four weeks later he was released, and fled to the United States. Paul arranged for Cuban landing permits for his wife, Erna, and children Egon and Edith.

Egon Salmon’s passage document for the MS St. Louis. Gift of Egon Salmon

On May 13, 1939, Erna, Egon, and Edith left Hamburg on the MS St. Louis. The ship was turned away from Cuba and the U.S., so the family went to Belgium, and eventually were able to reunite with their father in Staten Island. This is where the family made their home.

Egon Salmon’s 1940 immigrant Identification card. Gift of Egon J. Salmon

“It is difficult to comprehend what human beings can do to each other,” Mr. Salmon would often reflect during presentations at schools and community centers. “But remember it happened.”

In 1956, he opened Salmon Real Estate in Stapleton, and it continues to operate today in Castleton Corners.

In retirement, Mr. Salmon enjoyed the company of his large family.

“Family was the first, middle, and last of everything for my father,” said Egon’s son, Jon Salmon.

Survivors include his wife, the former Marie Schiff; two sons, Henry (Linda) and Jon (Meryl); a sister, Edith Smith; six grandchildren, twins Barie Miller MD (David) and Tracy Svetcov MD (Spencer), Scott Salmon (Remy), Matthew Salmon (Honey), Abbey Salmon and Katie Hartley (Bernard); and seven great-grandchildren, Linus Salmon, Lara Svetcov, Jack Hartley, Isaac Salmon, Esther Salmon, Joey Salmon and Lynnie Salmon.

Egon J. Salmon generously donated many family artifacts to the Museum, some of which are on view in our exhibition, The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do.