Holocaust survivor, WWII vet turns 101

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(CNN NEWSOURCE) — Florida WWII veteran Robert Schweiger knows the value of hard work.

He enjoys cooking dinner each night after spending a day doing options trading.

What is your age?

“71; I mean, I was born in 1921 that makes me 101,” Schweiger said.

You heard right. Robert just celebrated his 101st birthday — and making it to this age is a miracle on its own.

“That’s when we arrived in America,” Schweiger added.

Robert is a holocaust survivor. But many on his Jewish family tree were not as fortunate.

“Erwin, see that’s my brother, he got killed in the concentration camp. All of the stars, he got killed in the concentration camps. All these stars you see, their whole families got wiped out in concentration camps,” Schweiger said.

He and his family escaped Austria when he was 16. Eventually making it to the Detroit area.

“We came to this country, and between my mother and I, we had seven bucks in our pocket.”

But just a few years after finding refuge on American soil, Robert was drafted into WWII — sent back to the land he escaped from.

Facing death yet again as one of the first groups to arrive at Normandy on D-Day.

“We were dug in on the beach, on Omaha beach. I remember, you know, take the shovel, dig in a little bit. You’d swear that that plane you see up there can see you in that fox hole,” Schweiger said.

The highly decorated WWII hero escaped Europe with his life for a second time.

“Three bronze stars and I got a Presidential Unit Citation.

Before moving to Bradenton in the 70s, Robert became a successful businessman in the Detroit auto industry.

He had a family and was happily married to his sweetheart for 78 years until she passed away just a few years ago.

“I still miss her just terribly. They say it’s going to get a little better but it really doesn’t get better. She was part of my life you know.”

Despite his loss, this WWII hero, holocaust survivor and refugee knows something about perseverance…

“I’m a very patriotic guy.”

He says living in this country is a gift that he has never taken for granted.

“The best success you can have in this country. Where in the world can a guy like me, a nobody, be as successful as we were,” Schweiger.

And the secret to Robert’s successful and fruitful life he says is simple: work hard.

“Don’t drink any cheap booze, that’ll do you in; the cheap stuff will absolutely do you in.”

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