Joseph Sher, Holocaust survivor and tailor to stars, dies at 100

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — A Holocaust survivor who became a New Orleans tailor with such celebrity clients as Fats Domino and Elvis Presley, has died at 100.

Joseph Sher died Thursday at Lambeth House, a New Orleans retirement community and assisted-living facility, reported. He was the oldest Holocaust survivor in New Orleans and the leader of the local survivor community, according to the Crescent City Jewish News.

During the Holocaust, Sher was sent to several Nazi-run slave labor camps, where he was forced to build roads. He was only three of 1,000 men on his detail to survive the experience. Sher, his two brothers and his wife survived the Holocaust, but he lost his parents and three sisters, who died at the Treblinka death camp.

In 1949, Sher, his wife and a child born in a displaced persons camp settled in New Orleans where he found work as a tailor, a trade he had learned from his father in Poland.


Working at Harry Hyman Tailors, he specialized in performance clothes for entertainers and uniforms for tall hotel doorman. When the shop changed its name to Murphy the Tailor, Sher “managed dozens of employees, each working at a busy sewing machine,” the Crescent City Jewish News wrote. He retired in the 1990s.

“He could take a piece of fabric from anywhere on a garment and make the garment absolutely new-looking,” his son Leopold told

Sher’s account of his experiences during the Holocaust can be found here.

A funeral was held Friday morning at Congregation Anshe Sfard in New Orleans.