Martin Greenfield, Holocaust Survivor, Is Now Tailor to the Famous

The 88-year-old has been making suits in the U.S. since 1947.

ByEnjoli Francis and Eric Noll
February 03, 2017, 6:08 PM

— -- Martin Greenfield knows his way around suits -- and presidents, for that matter.

The owner of Martin Greenfield Clothiers in Brooklyn, New York, the 88-year-old tailor has been making suits in the U.S. since 1947.

He's dressed commander-in-chiefs from President Eisenhower to President Trump and he's clothed celebrities, including Paul Newman and Jimmy Fallon.

Greenfield was born in Pavlovo, in what was then Czechoslovakia, and taken to a Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz when he was a teenager.

"I was separated completely from my parents in Auschwitz," he said. "Nobody knew that there was an Auschwitz, that people were going to be gassed. The Germans kept a secret that nobody knew."

Click here for more David Muir and stories from his Made in America series.

He was put in the tailor shop. He said he never saw his family again.

"I started off knowing nothing about suit making," he said. "I didn't know how to even hold a needle, or how to sew."

So, he learned. He was there for several years before moving on to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

"Going from Auschwitz we were 10,000 people and you know how many survived? Maybe 600. I was one of them who survived," he said.

He remained there until the camp was liberated in April 1945.

At almost 19, he came to the U.S. in September 1947 with the help of his uncle and got a job as a floor boy at a garment factory in Brooklyn, New York. He said the owner took him under his wing, after noticing his potential.

"He sat me down [and said], 'I want you to be on the floor. You are made for this job.' ... He says he's going to make me a suit doctor," Greenfield recalled.

He learned every job that there was to learn at the factory -- making a lot of money at the same time -- and in 1977, he bought the factory.

These days, Greenfield is in at 8:30 a.m. He works six days a week. His factory makes 60 suits a day and employs 135 workers.

"Every day, I wear a three-piece suit," he said.

His sons, Tod and Jay, have taken over the business. Greenfield and his wife of 60 years, Elaine, have three grandchildren.

"The country is unbelievable for me. I know a lot about this country but I want to know more," he said. "There isn't an American born in the United States who likes this country more than Martin Greenfield. I love this country."

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