Bert Lewyn, WMIA Founding Member, passes away at age 93

On Sunday, January 3, 2016, Bert Lewyn, one of the founding members of the Woodworking Machinery Importers Association, passed away in his sleep. He was born in 1923 in Berlin, Germany. As a holocaust survivor, Bert came to the United States in 1949 and settled down in Atlanta, GA.

Bert LewynBert Lewyn originally founded Lewyn Machinery in 1952 as a home-based business when he began selling woodworking machinery regionally throughout the southeastern United States. Lewyn Machinery’s success resulted in the necessity of forming an organization and acquiring office and warehouse space to move the operation out of his home. After many years of successfully representing machinery manufacturers in the southeast, Bert had the foresight to recognize the coming impact of imported machinery on the industry and became one of the nation’s premier importers and distributors in the early 1970s. He also played an important role as one of the founding members of the WMIA. In 1986, he sold the company to Koch Machinery, an affiliate of a German manufacturer of one of his imported lines of machinery. He continued to consult Koch Machinery until his retirement from the industry.

In his later years, Bert also enjoyed research and wrote a book, On the Run in Nazi Germany, with his daughter-in law, to document his years during World War II in Germany. The book has sold over 10,000 copies in several languages.

Bert will be most remembered for the love he had for Esther, his children and grandchildren, the admiration and love of his friends, the respect his business colleagues had for him, his dry wit, and for his fierce love and defense of the Jewish people and of Israel. Bert was predeceased by his parents, Johanna and Leopold Lewin, and is survived by his loving wife Esther Sloan Lewyn, daughters Andrea Lewyn Krakovsky and Cindy Lewyn, sons Lawrence, Marc and Michael Lewyn, son-in-law Ed Krakovsky, daughter-in-law Beverly Saltzman Lewyn, grandchildren Jake and Sloan Krakovsky, and Alexandra, Rachel, Sarah and Rebecca Lewyn. A memorial service was held January 5; interment followed at Arlington Memorial Park. Contributions may be made to the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust or a charity of one’s choice.

WMIA expresses its sincerest condolences to Bert’s family, friends, and former colleagues. Thanks to Hans Meier of Koch Machinery for sharing this information with us.

In his later years, Bert also enjoyed research and wrote a book, On the Run in Nazi Germany, with his daughter-in law, to document his years during World War II in Germany. The book has sold over 10,000 copies in several languages.

Bert will be most remembered for the love he had for Esther, his children and grandchildren, the admiration and love of his friends, the respect his business colleagues had for him, his dry wit, and for his fierce love and defense of the Jewish people and of Israel. Bert was predeceased by his parents, Johanna and Leopold Lewin, and is survived by his loving wife Esther Sloan Lewyn, daughters Andrea Lewyn Krakovsky and Cindy Lewyn, sons Lawrence, Marc and Michael Lewyn, son-in-law Ed Krakovsky, daughter-in-law Beverly Saltzman Lewyn, grandchildren Jake and Sloan Krakovsky, and Alexandra, Rachel, Sarah and Rebecca Lewyn. A memorial service was held January 5; interment followed at Arlington Memorial Park. Contributions may be made to the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust or a charity of one’s choice.

WMIA expresses its sincerest condolences to Bert’s family, friends, and former colleagues. Thanks to Hans Meier of Koch Machinery for sharing this information with us.