Gene Simmons' Mother Dies At 92
Gene Simmons' mother, Flora "Florence" Klein, has died at the age of 92. Simmons' wife Shannon Tweed announced the news on her Fabebook page, posting a tribute, saying, "Rest in peace my dear Flora. The best grandma and mother in law I could ask for. You were loved and you will be missed." Simmons posted a message on his Instagram featuring a photo of him as a child with his mother stating: "The best mother in the world." Kiss co-founder, Paul Stanley, who knew Flora going on 50 years tweeted: "Gene's mother, Florence Lubowski, has passed away. I knew her as long as I've known Gene. Beyond her fierce love and pride in her only child, she was his inspiration to live up to being worthy of the sacrifices she made in a very difficult and, at time, horrific life. A holocaust survivor, she fought for all she had, and her fierce protection and pride in Gene made her someone to be feared, admired and loved. I will miss her laugh and smile. Let us all say a prayer for her, Gene and his family." Blabbermouth posted that earlier this year, Simmons shared the story of his mother, telling The Sydney Morning Herald: "My 92-year-old mother, Flora Klein, is my hero. She was sent to a Nazi concentration camp at the age of 14 and survived, but all the members of her family were wiped out -- she saw her mother walk into a gas chamber. Despite the tragedy, she is a positive person who sees the goodness in people's hearts. I wouldn't be that forgiving if I had lived her life. She raised me as a single mother in Israel -- I was an only child. My father (Feri Witz) abandoned us when I was six. Mom had relatives living in America and so we relocated there for a better life when I was eight." He went on to say: "When we arrived in America, neither of us could speak a word of English. My mother worked in a factory that was like a sweatshop -- six days a week, no lunch breaks and there was no minimum wage. She was a button and buttonhole worker, handling 1000 coats a day. She made half-a-penny for every button sewed." Simmons, who would support his father financially, never crossed paths with him again: "My father was her one true love. She went to Israel 25 times to visit him, even though he was a scoundrel who had remarried. I later found out that I had five half-brothers from my father's five other marriages. He died in his early 80's and at that time he was living with a 35-year-old woman. He was who he was to the end." Gene Simmons recalled his life with his mother in Israel prior to emigrating to America: "My father left us when I was about six or seven, and one day, a box came in. It was a cardboard box. Later on I figured out it was a care package. I picked up my first can of food. It was canned peaches, I had never seen a can, y'know, we didn't even have a toilet when I was growing up. And she opened it up with a knife, y'know, she had to break through it, opened up, and I remember tasting those canned peaches -- sweetest things I ever had. And all of a sudden I had the idea that somebody cared. And once I grew up I promised myself, I gotta make a difference. You can't go through life and die and leave things the way they are."
Gene Simmons On Early Days In Israel