18 May 1933
Student identification card issued to Erwin Zimet by the Friedrich Wilhelm University of Berlin
Even before graduating in 1938, Erwin Zimet worked as a rabbi at various Berlin synagogues and other facilities connected with the Jewish community. As a Polish citizen, he was unexpectedly deported from the country with his father in late October 1938 as part of the so-called Polish Operation (Polenaktion). Both men were taken by force to the border area between Poland and Germany and, together with most of the over 15,000 deportees, were interned in the Zbaszyn (German: Bentschen) refugee camp. There Erwin Zimet served as a rabbi until he was finally able to emigrate to England in March 1939. Shortly afterward he continued on to the United States.
After working for ten years in New York City, Erwin Zimet was offered a position as rabbi at the Temple Beth El in Poughkeepsie in 1948. There he served for forty years before going into retirement. The city’s Hebrew Day School still bears his name today.