Celebrating Veterans Day with 102-Year-Old WWII Veteran

Evald Holtz, 102 years old, is a WWII Veteran.
Evald Holtz, 102 years old, is a WWII Veteran.

Reading >> Veterans Day is a day to honor military veterans and all they have done for our country. It’s a time to show respect for heroes who served in the United States Armed Forces and fought for our freedom. Manor at Market Square is proud to be home to one of these heroes, who served in the Army for almost four years during WWII.

Evald Holtz was born in Germany on November 16, 1913, the son of pheasant farmers. At the outbreak of WWI, his family fled and they “lived on the road” until coming to the United States, landing in Reading, Pa., in 1925.

Holtz served in the Army as an interpreter for four years in the Infantry during WWII. He spent all his time with the Colonel because he could not speak German and Holtz could.

“Sometimes I thought I was running the war because the Colonel would ask me what he should do,” he said.

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His primary value was to interrogate prisoners, as well as speak on the battlefield to broadcast in German calling for them to surrender.

“I heard a lot of interesting stories during those years in the Army. Listening to the other side I felt just as bad for them because they had no choice but to fight. They were drafted just as I was,” he said.

Holtz said he doesn’t remember where he was when he heard the war ended; he just remembers that after the American Air Force joined the war, it was over quickly.

“What I got from my time in the Army was survival. It equips you to deal with hard events that happen in your life. If you make it through the hardship of war, you can make it through whatever hardships and difficulties take place in your life,” Holtz said.

After the war, he was recruited by Continental Can in Reading, and worked there for 41 years. He met his wife at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Walnut Street, one of his fondest memories. Although he still relates to his German heritage, Reading is his hometown. He only returned to Germany once since the end of the war.

He now resides at Manor at Market Square, where he’s lived since May 2016, surrounded by new friends and old memories from the war. He will be celebrating his 103rd birthday in just a few weeks, which is a huge milestone.

“My secret to longevity is luck, pure luck. I’ve always been lucky,” he said. “My only regret in life is just having one child. My son, Jack, has been a really great son. I hope he’s as lucky in life as I have been these past 103 years. I hope to live another 10 healthy, lucky years.”

Manor at Market Square will be celebrating Holtz’s birthday with a chocolate cake, which is his favorite.

“We’re so proud to have Evald living here at Manor at Market Square. He is exceptionally pleasant to everyone he sees throughout our hallways, and he always enjoys the meals that are cooked by our dining staff,” said Katie Catchmark, executive director. “We have so many delightful residents at Manor at Market Square and we’re thrilled to celebrate Evald during Veterans Day and on his birthday. We love hearing stories about his life, and we’re thrilled he can live here and keep doing the things he loves.”

For more information about Evald Holtz and life achievements, or to learn more about Manor at Market Square, please call 610-373-0800 or visit www.manoratmarketsquare.com.