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Nazi concentration camp survivor, 90, found strangled

  • Story Highlights
  • Felix Brinkmann, a native of Latvia, was a survivor of three concentration camps
  • Brinkmann spent years in the nightclub business after he and his wife immigrated
  • He had lived alone in an Upper East Side apartment since his wife died last year
  • Police: "Man and a woman" being sought in connection with the homicide
By Jason Kessler
CNN
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A 90-year-old Holocaust survivor was found strangled Thursday in his Upper East Side apartment, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner said Friday.

Felix Brinkmann is shown at age 21 in a 1939 photograph. He escaped death during the Holocaust.

Felix Brinkmann dances at a 2008 party marking his 90th birthday.

Felix Brinkmann, a native of Latvia, escaped death for a year while he was in the Nazis' Mauthausen, Ebensee and Auschwitz concentration camps. Five times he had been slated for the gas chambers, but each time he used his fluency in German to talk his way out.

After the war ended, he was stunned to discover that his wife, who had also been shipped to Auschwitz, was alive and well in Poland.

The Brinkmanns immigrated to America, where Felix spent years in the bar and nightclub business, co-founding in 1971 Adam's Apple disco in Manhattan.

In recent years, he had served as the real estate manager of a mixed-use building in the Bronx, working "seven days a week, without fail," said his son Rick Brinkman, who spells his last name differently than his father.

On Thursday, the building's superintendent grew concerned when Brinkmann did not show up to work. He notified Brinkmann's son and received permission to enter the father's apartment, where he had lived alone since his wife died last year.

Brinkmann's body was found lying face down in his bedroom, his hands bound, his body showing blunt-force trauma wounds, police said. Brinkmann's blue 2009 Honda Civic may have been stolen and a safe in his apartment tampered with, police said.

A police spokesman said authorities were looking for "a man and a woman" in connection with the homicide.

Rick Brinkman speculated that the killing was random in nature. "Anybody who knew him really liked him," the son said. "He was not the kind of guy who had enemies."

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