Obituaries » Lawrence Herbert Warick
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May 2, 1936 - August 15, 2020
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LAWRENCE H. WARICK. M.D.
Of Blessed Memory
“Teach the future generations about evils of war, hatred, and prejudice. Tolerate – if not love – your fellow man.”
Lawrence H. Warick was born with the Polish name of Lova Warszawczyk on May 2, 1936 in Warsaw, Poland. He lived in the Jewish Quarter of Warsaw with his parents, Joseph and Marstza Warick, and his paternal grandparents.
Larry was only three years old when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and bombed Warsaw continuously for one month. He still remembers seeing thousands of dead bodies from the bombings lying across the streets of Warsaw. Another one of his earliest memories was when Nazi soldiers destroyed his father’s store and beat his father up. He also vividly recalls how widespread disease, starvation, and seemingly random shootings became normalized parts of life in the Warsaw Ghetto.
After living in the Warsaw Ghetto for about a year, Larry and his father were smuggled out by Larry’s clever mother to the city of Bialystok, in Eastern Poland, where his maternal grandmother lived. His mother joined them later. The family stayed in the Bialystok Ghetto, which was occupied by the Soviet Army, for half a year. Larry believes that the pact of non-aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union (Molotov Ribbentrop Pact) essentially saved his life and his father’s life. Otherwise, they would have been deported to and murdered at Treblinka Concentration Camp, like many of his relatives who had not escaped the Warsaw Ghetto.
In February 1941, the Soviet Secret Service shipped Larry and his family by cattle train to a labor camp in Siberia. They stayed in a very cold and brutal labor camp for about a year and a half, where many children and elderly people died. Fortunately, Larry’s mother spoke Russian and was able to work in a kitchen to provide food for her family. Larry contracted tuberculosis and whooping cough in addition to several other childhood diseases but was fortunate enough to recover. Subsequently, they were relocated by the Soviet military to Soviet Georgia, where they lived for two and one half years. At the end of 1944/early 1945, Larry and his family fled Georgia and trekked back to Poland which, at that point, had been previously liberated by the Soviets three months earlier. They found Poland in ruins, learned that all of their 300 family members had been murdered, and continued to face terrible antisemitism. They stayed in the city of Lodz for about six to eight months.
After two failed attempts to smuggle themselves out of Poland into the American-occupied
zone of Germany, their third attempt was successful. Larry and his family lived in a Displaced Persons’ Camp first in Munich and then in Stuttgart, where for the first time in his young life he attended make-shift classes taught by German, Austrian, and Polish university professors. It took three years before they could immigrate to the United States. They boarded the Troop Carrier USS Bundy and finally arrived in New Orleans in May 1949. Subsequently, they moved to New York City. Joseph was able to reestablish his small business. Larry started his formal education, learned English by going to the movies and reading comic books. He attended City College of New York, and then graduated from Albert Einstein Medical School in New York City.
After finishing medical school, Larry moved to California and trained in neurosurgery and psychiatry at the LA County/USC Medical Center. Larry married Elaine in 1963. They had two children, David and Cathy, both became teachers, and a wonderful grandson, William. Larry resided in Brentwood, worked as a psychiatrist in his Santa Monica-based office, and taught psychiatry to residents and medical students as a member of the faculty of UCLA Medical School. Larry prided himself on being a student of history and a teacher. He served as a trauma doctor in the Air Force for six years during the Vietnam War. Larry’s life modeled his “reverence for the fragility and resilience of life” and his commitment to social justice and human dignity.
In 2009, Larry began speaking at the Museum of Tolerance. He believed it was his responsibility to share his testimony in order to teach future generations to “never let hatred, bigotry, or prejudice influence you. Tolerate – if not love – your fellow man.” Tragically, Dr. Larry Warick passed away suddenly on August 15, 2020. His memory will live on at the Museum of Tolerance.