Siegfried Buchwalter was born in 1926 in Vienna, Austria. Siegfried had turned twelve years old when German troops entered Austria in 1938, annexing the country, and promptly imposed anti-Jewish legislation, including forced deportations. Beginning in 1941, Siegfried and his parents were among thousands of Viennese Jews that were deported to Litzmannstadt, a ghetto in Łódź, Poland. As a labor worker there, Siegfried suffered brutal beatings while making crowbars and rifle shells for the German army. He was later transferred to the Buchenwald concentration camp, located near Weimar, Germany, before being liberated by American forces in 1945. Siegfried emigrated to the United States in the early 1950s.