Life | Toys | 80s

He Survived The Holocaust To Bring You Your Favorite Childhood Toys - Listen To His Story

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Newsweek / Hasbro

You might not know the name Henry Orenstein, but trust me, you've almost definitely been a fan of something he created at some point during your childhood.


The man has over 100 patents for various toys to his name in the United States, several of which have gone on to be pretty massive successes. In the 1960s he created Suzy Cute, a doll that sold especially well thanks to an extremely catchy marketing campaign.

However, Orenstein's biggest toymaking success came with discovering a type of toy from Japan the likes of which the West had never seen before: cars that transform into giant robots. He patented the idea as "Transformers" and went to Hasbro with his pitch for it. I think you know what happened next.


Transformers persists to this day as a multi-billion dollar movie franchise, with more merchandising and toys than ever before. Orenstein has maintained his patent the entire time, making him a very rich man. However, this isn't the most interesting aspect of his life. What's interesting is what it took him to get to this point.

Namely, he had to survive the Holocaust.

Click to the next page to find out about Henry Orenstein's struggles in WWII, as well as his contributions to an unlikely sport.

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