Shlomo was one of seven children born in Lodz to the Reich family. The Reichs were a religious Jewish family, and Shlomo's Hasidic father wore earlocks and a traditional fur hat. After public school every day, Shlomo attended the Ostrovtze Yeshiva, a rabbinical academy where he studied Jewish holy texts. Shlomo's father owned a shoelace factory.
1933-39: The Germans invaded Lodz in September 1939 and began to institute anti-Jewish measures. Jews were not allowed to use public transportation, to leave the city without special permission, or own cars or radios. Eventually, Jewish apartments were confiscated.
1940-44: In the early winter of 1940, the Germans set up a ghetto in Lodz, and the city's Jews were concentrated there. The Reich family was also moved into the ghetto, where they all lived in one small room. Shlomo found work at a clothing factory in the ghetto, where he received thin soup at lunchtime. After four years in the ghetto, Shlomo was deported in the late summer of 1944 for slave labor at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.
Shlomo was liberated in the spring of 1945. After the war, he learned that four of his six brothers and sisters had also survived. He emigrated to the United States in 1946.