Warren was born Werner Heilbronner in Stuttgart, Germany, on November 7, 1932, to Helmut (Harry) and Dora Loeb Heilbronner. Warren and his older brother Leslie (Ludwig) were the eleventh generation of the Heilbronner family who had lived in Stuttgart, or its surrounding area, going back to 1657. Their father was the superintendent of his father-in-law’s factory, Gebruder Loeb, a large textile firm.
When Hitler came to power, Warren was too young to go to school during the years when Jewish children were still allowed to attend. With the passage of the Nuremberg Laws, and the tightening of restrictions against Jews, his family also did not feel as threatened as other Jewish families because of their wealth and their position in the community. Nonetheless, in 1936, the family applied for, but had to wait until July, 1938, to receive a number for entry into the United States.
This action would be critical to their survival, because in 1938, following Kristallnacht, both Warren's father and grandfather were in danger of arrest. Warren remembers vividly the morning of November 9, 1939. “My brother and I watched through the bannister from the second floor while mother opened the front door to two Gestapo agents looking to arrest my father who had gone to stay with his mother-in-law after her husband had been arrested.” The Gestapo left, but later that morning at work in the family’s large textile mill, Helmut was also arrested. Both Helmut and his father-in-law were sent to Dachau Concentration Camp. Warren’s father's release was now dependent upon the family being able to show the authorities that they were about to emigrate to the United States. (See also Harry S. and Dora Loeb Heilbronner’s entry).
An affidavit of support from Warren's great uncle Max, a successful realtor from Tennessee, was all that they needed. Once secured, the Heilbronner family was able to emigrate. The German official, however, who was handling the file, demanded as blackmail 10,000 mark in order for Helmut to get the exit papers, which he was able to obtain by cashing in his life insurance..
Warren and his family arrived in NYC on March 27, 1939. Warren, now almost seven years old, finally began his schooling. After a summer stay in Rochester where Warren attend the old JY, the family settled in Perry, NY, where Harry obtained employment at the Perry Knitting Mill. The early years in Perry were difficult as the family was both German and Jewish at a time when the war against Germany was being waged. By June 1950, Warren graduated as salutatorian of his Perry High School class and went on to receive his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in June,1954 and his law degree from Columbia Law School in June 1957. He served in the US Army Reserves with active duty from July 1957 to January,1958 after which he started to practice law. He is currently Senior Counsel at Boylan Code in Rochester. Warren married Joyce Aroeste on October 29, 1961. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.
Warren is active in Rochester’s Jewish and general communities. He speaks for the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) on his family’s experiences during the Holocaust in area schools and colleges, even traveling back to Perry to address students there. Warren is past president of Temple B’rith Kodesh and is active in the Union for Reform Judaism having served on its National Board for 29 years and currently serves on its Commission on Social Action. For over forty years he has been active with the Arc of Monroe as well as its state organization and has served for over 30 years as the Chairman of the NYSARC Trust, the largest trust of its kind in the country.
Biography written by: Barbara Appelbaum