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About Henri Landwirth
Henri Landwirth was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1927. At the age of 13 he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp and in the course of the war, he was transferred to several other concentration camps, Mauthausen included. While he and his twin sister, Margot Landwirth Glazer were liberated at the end of the war, their parents did not survive the Holocaust.
After WWII, Landwirth immigrated to the US. He moved to Florida in 1954 to manage the Starlight Hotel in Cocoa Beach, which accommodated the needs of the growing space program in Florida. In 1969, he opened his first Holiday Inn franchise, which catered to the audiences at the developing entertainment park business around Orlando.
An equally engaged philanthropist, Henri Landwirth often said that his experience of surviving the Holocaust urged him to help those in need and to live a life of giving. For example, in 1989, Landwirth opened the Give Kids the World Village in Orlando, which offers a week-long, cost-free vacation for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses together with their families. In 2000, after a visit to a homeless shelter, Landwirth established Dignity U Wear, providing clothing for families in need.
For his excellence in the hotel business, for his philanthropy, and for his work as an activist for the continuing memorialization of the Holocaust and its victims – among them his parents, Henri Landwirth was awarded many honors and awards. Mother Theresa and John Paul II sent him their blessings; he was named one of the twelve Most Caring Individuals in America by the Caring Institute, and he was invited twice to carry the Olympic Torch.
Henri Landwirth’s life was the subject of a biography by W. Halamandaris, Love & Hate: The Story of Henri Landwirth (2007), and his life experiences were featured in the documentary films, Borrowing Time (2006) and Loving Henri (2016) directed by Robert Allen Black.