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Published: Monday, 5/4/2009

Ex-businessman fled Nazis as a child

Philip David Master, a retired commercial real estate businessman who as a child fled Nazi-occupied Poland with his Jewish family, evading capture for at least five years, died Saturday in his Sylvania Township home. He was 73.

The cause of death was not known.

Mr. Master was born in Poland as Philip David Kapelmaister. He changed his surname in the early 1970s, said Steve Master, Mr. Master's son.

"World War II broke out when he was a little child, and he and my grandparents hid from the Nazis by running through the forests of Europe, evading capture," Mr. Master said.

"They left with the clothes on their backs. They were never captured and always kept one step ahead of the Nazis."

After the end of the war, Mr. Master and his parents were resettled in Toronto, his son said.

"His whole life was turned upside down by the Nazis because anyone who was Jewish, you were killed or put in a ghetto or a concentration camp," he said.

"After the war, they were in a displaced person camp, so they could be resettled somewhere in the world, and it was in that camp my aunt - his sister - was born."

Mr. Master spent many years educating young people about the Holocaust and his experiences as a child in war-torn Europe.

Mr. Master's father, Harry Kapelmaister, became a tailor in Toronto.

"My father was also a tailor in Toronto, and later on he came to Toledo in 1971 and got into commercial real estate," Mr. Master said. "He just found that it was an opportunity here in Toledo so he brought his family to Toledo."

Mr. Master worked for a number of companies - including Danberry Co. Realtors and CB Richard Ellis/Reichle Klein - before going into business for himself.

He continued to work until retirement about five years ago.

Surviving are his wife of 47 years, Selma Master, sons, Steve and Rich Master, daughter, Michele Richman, sister, Helen Lokash, and five grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. today at Congregation B'nai Israel.

Visitation will be held at the Master home, 3919 Sylvan Woods Drive, from

5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

Arrangements were handled by Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to Congregation B'nai Israel, Hadassah, or Yad Va Shem.

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