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Survivors and Liberators

Stephen Berger

Steve was born and raised in Debrecin, Hungary, where he attended elementary school and Jewish Gymnasium. After the German occupation of Hungary he was forced into the city ghetto. From there, he was sent to Strasshof concentration camp and then to a slave labor camp in Austria. After the liberation by Allied Forces, he briefly returned to Hungary, where he discovered the Germans and their Hungarian collaborators had murdered 26 members of his family. He joined the Zionist movement and left Hungary. He worked to help Europe and Jews emigrate to Palestine and contributed to Israel’s war for independence.

Annie Bleiberg

Annie was born in Oleszye, Poland. Soon after the Germans occupied Poland in1939, they established ghettos and forced Jews, including Annie and her family, into them. When the ghetto was liquidated, the Jewish inhabitants were crammed into a train and sent to Belzec, an annihilation camp in the Lublin District in the General Gouvernement. Annie escaped from the moving train and began a brief life in hiding. She was betrayed, however, by a classmate and ultimately was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

After the war, Annie came to the United States and settled in the Bronx, where she was active in a variety of Jewish organizations. She relocated to Woodbury and continues her activities there.

Eve Boden

Eve was born in 1935. In 1940, following the German invasion of France, she and her parents were deported to France where they were imprisoned in the Gurs transit camp. Eve remained in Gurs with her parents until March 1941, when she was separated from her parents and sent to a Catholic orphanage in the Vichy region, which was not occupied by Germany. On her birthday in 1942, at the age of 7, Eve was sent to the United States, where she lived with an uncle for one month. After that, she stayed in a series of foster homes sponsored by the UJA. Today, Eve is a therapist and resides on Long Island.

Boris Chartan

Boris Chartan was born in Podkamien, Poland. When the Nazis occupied the region of Poland in which he lived in 1941, Boris was sent to the Sasow labor camp, where he remained until the end of 1942. At that time, he escaped from the camp into the forest. A Polish family saved him and helped to reunite him with his family. After the war, Boris and his parents lived in a Displaced Persons Camp after which they came to the United States. Ultimately, Boris became the Nassau County Commissioner of General Services, a position from which he resigned in 2002. Boris established the Holocaust Center with several friends and served as its President for a number of years.

Herbert Cooper

Vienna, Austria was home to Herb Cooper during his childhood. His life changed forever in 1938, when the Nazis annexed Austria. In that same year, in the aftermath of the November Pogrom ( 9-10 November, also known as Kristallnacht), Jews were prohibited to attend non-Jewish schools and eventually even Jewish schools were closed. While the majority of Herb’s extended family perished in the Holocaust, his immediate family escaped to the United States in 1939. In America, Herb studied to become an engineer and contributed to the success of the US space program.

Julius Eisenstein

Born in Tomaszow, Poland, Julius was one of five children. Julius, his brother, and his future wife survived a number of camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. The remainder of his family however, his father and mother and his three sisters, were murdered in Treblinka, a death camp not far from Warsaw. When the war ended, American troops liberated the last camp in which Julius had been incarcerated. A photographer captured the moment and 40 years later Julius was reunited with the US soldier who appeared in the photo with him.

Janet Ettelman

Janet was a native of the small industrial city of Mannheim, Germany. She witnessed the November Pogrom in 1938 after which her parents immediately intensified their efforts to escape Germany. She and her father managed to leave on the last boat out of Italy. They barely escaped death as the Germans torpedoed that ship on its return to Europe. Janet’s mother and brother fled later. Her mother was a chaperone for “The Thousand Children” and she convinced the authorities to take her son as well. In the US, Janet pursued a career in education; she taught English and Social Studies.

Lillian Gewirtzman

Lillian was born in Grabowiec, located in a region of Poland occupied by the Soviets until 1941. She and her family fled farther into the USSR in front the German invasion, escaping the worst horrors of the Holocaust. They spent various amounts of time in Siberia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. Between 1946 and 1951, Lillian lived in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. This experience prompted her to curate the Center’s Displaced Persons Exhibit, which is available for display and which has been shown throughout the US and internationally. Lillian and David met after arriving in the US, where they owned several pharmacies in succession.

Charlotte Gillman

Antwerp, Belgium was the birthplace and home of Charlotte Gilman until the end of World War II. During the war, she and her two sisters were hidden in a series of Catholic convents. The vast majority of Charlotte’s family however (over 200 people), were interned briefly at Malines/Mechelin (the major transit camp in Belgium) and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered. Charlotte, her sisters, and their mother (who had been hiding in various places nearby) reunited with Charlotte’s father in the United States after 8 ½ years of separation. Charlotte has kept in touch with some of her rescuers over the years since the war.

Gloria Glantz

Gloria Glantz was born in Wegrow Poland, in 1939. She had a very loving, large family which included many uncles aunts, cousins, 2 older brothers, and grandparents. To save her life, her parents enlisted the help of a simple, righteous Christian family.
In her lifetime Gloria has lived in 4 countries, on two continents, so her journey to America was a very circuitous and unusual one.

In her professional life as a teacher she has made it a mission to see that the Shoah is not forgotten. She is the winner of a fellowship from the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, American Federation of Teachers, and Jewish Labor Committee to study the Holocaust and Resistance. She is also the 2002 recipient of The Spirit of Anne Frank Outstanding Educator Award.

Margaret Goldberger

Margaret was born in Berlin. She became part of the Kindertransport after Kristallnacht, when England agreed to take in Jewish children under age 17. She lived in England until 1946, when she immigrated to the US. She serves on the Executive Board of the Kindertransport Association and is an active speaker on the Holocaust.

Lottie Hess

Lottie was born in Unsleben, Germany in 1925. Lottie’s family and her family’s business, a granary, had been a part of the town and its economy for generations. The Nazis’ anti-Jewish laws affected her family immediately. Her father’s business suffered, she was ostracized by former friends; men she knew were sent to Dachau. Her family made plans to leave. First her father came to the US in 1937 on an affidavit provided by his uncle. He then brought the rest of the family in July 1938. While her family escaped, others in the town did not. Many were deported to Ibizcica (near Lublin, Poland) and never heard from again.

Werner Hess

Werner was born and raised in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. When Hitler came to power, he experienced a sudden loss of belonging. His best friend, a gentile, could no longer play or even talk to him. He was thrown off of his soccer team for being Jewish. In 1936, realizing he would not be able to attend college and that he wanted to leave Germany, Werner dropped out of school and began studying a trade. During the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht), Werner’s parents’ fish store was destroyed. The following day, the Nazis came for his father, who was dying of cancer. They wanted to take Werner instead. He reported to the collection point the next day, but was never sent away. In January 1939, Werner escaped to England and reached the US in 1940. He was drafted a few years later, served in the Pacific until 1946, when he was discharged. He married that same year.

Herman Horowitz

Herman is the son of Russian immigrants to the United States. He grew up on a farm and was forced to leave high school before graduation because of the hardships of the Depression. Shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the US entered the war, Herman joined the Army. He participated in the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and fought across Europe as part of General Patton’s Seventh Armored Division. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge, after which his unit liberated Ohrdruf and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Back in the US after the war, Herman joined his father in law’s appliance business, where he remained for 45 years.

Ethel Katz

Ethel was born and grew up in Buczacz, Poland, which is now part of Ukraine. Her family was large and close-knit. The German Army entered the town in 1941 followed closely by mobile killing squads who murdered her twin brother and other young Jewish men in a forest near the town. The rest of her family escaped immediate destruction by hiding in barns and fields for several years, reliant upon their non-Jewish neighbors for food. Later Ethel’s family members were murdered in their hiding place. Ethel narrowly escaped and survived that last few months of the war on her own. The Soviet Army liberated her town in 1944. After the war, Ethel immigrated to the United States, where she raised a family. She has written a memoir of her experiences during the Holocaust, Our Tomorrows Never Came.  Read More...

Susan Lipsey

Susan’s father and uncle owned and operated a lumber company in the town of Baranowicze, Poland, where Susan was born. The Russians occupied the region of Poland in which she lived in 1939. They took over the family’s business and home at the same time. The Soviets threatened to deport Susan and her family to Siberia, but they managed to reach Vilna (Lithuania). In that city, a Japanese diplomat named Sugihara issued visas to thousands of Jews, including Susan’s family, which enabled them to leave Europe and escape the Nazi threat. Susan’s family went to Japan and then to Shanghai, where they lived in the ghetto until the end of the war, after which they immigrated to the United States.

Asher Matathias

Asher’s parents were residents of Volos, Greece when the Germans began to target the Jews of that city in 1943. Non-Jewish Greek friends of the family were instrumental in their survival. They convinced Asher’s parents that the Nazi threat was serious and that they should leave. The family fled to the hills, where his mother gave birth to Asher. They survived in a cave for two years relying on the assistance and generosity of non-Jewish friends, who brought food and provided protection. Nazis frequently patrolled the area and on one occasion they found Asher and his mother. Fortunately, the soldier in charge had a baby at home in Germany and let them be. Following the war, Asher and his family returned to Volos and rebuilt a life there, but after a series of earthquakes in the early 1950s, they decided to relocate to the United States. In this country, Asher has pursued a career in education, married, and raised a family.

Ruth Meador

Ruth was born in Kassel, Germany. Following the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht), her parents succeeded in placing her on a Kindertransport train to Holland. She was seven years old. In Amsterdam, Ruth lived with approximately 80 other children in the town hall for over a year. The Germans occupied Holland in 1940 at which point a woman named Trude Weijmuller Meir, a non-Jews, arranged for all 80 children to be sent to England. Ruth remained in England for the duration of the war and eventually came to the United States.

Erika Novick

Erika was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her father, a physician, was warned by a Christian patient that the Nazis were coming for him. The family was able to escape to Nice and then to England. While she and her sister attended boarding school, her mother taught and her father worked as a gardener.

Lily Perry

Lily Perry was born in Vienna, Austria in 1928. Lily’s mother and father had lived in Austria for some time, but both of their families originated from Poland. When she was 10 years old, Hitler annexed Austria to Germany and with that event the course of her family’s life changed forever. Before the annexation, Lily’s family had gentile friends and neighbors; they were part of the Austrian community. Lily loved dogs and enjoyed school. Her father owned a store. With the annexation, Jewish neighbors were humiliated, arrested, and sent to concentration camps. Eventually, her father lost his store. The family sought to escape Austria. They planned to go to Shanghai, but were able to gain admittance to the United States. They arrived here in 1938, but many relatives were unable to escape and perished during the Holocaust. Lily’s husband was also a survivor. He endured the Dachau camp. They met after the war in the United States, where they built a new family and a new life.

Werner Reich

Werner and his family were residents of Berlin when the Nazis came to power in 1933. His father, an engineer, lost his job soon thereafter, prompting the family to move to Yugoslavia. This, however, was only a brief reprieve, as Nazi influence soon reached that country. Werner’s mother placed him in hiding with several families, but he was eventually found by the Gestapo and sent to jail and then into the camp system, where he went from Theresienstadt, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and finally to Mauthausen, where he was liberated in 1945. After the war, he returned briefly to Yugoslavia and then went to England in 1947, where he was trained as a pipefitter. He immigrated to the US in 1955 and eventually became an engineer.

Arlette Sanders

A native of Paris, France, Arlette fled France with her parents and siblings, escaping through Spain and Portugal. They lived in Lisbon for a year and finally were able to leave Europe in 1941. Arlette became an educator, and served as Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction in the Great Neck Schools.

Karl Schapiro

When Karl and his parents were thrown out of Germany, they became refugees for 2 years, eventually settling in the Town of Kalusz in Eastern Poland. In 1941, three Germans occupied Kalusz. All Jews were forced into a Ghetto. Karl’s childhood came to a stop. He lived as a hidden child in the ghetto, in a forced labor camp and for 1.5 years in a hole dug under a barn. When Karl and his parents were liberated, they returned to Kalusz looking for survivors. Of the town’s 5,500 Jews (which included 1200 children) only about 20 have survived with Karl being the only child. They left the town, never to return. They immigrated to the USA where Karl started his first normal education at the age of 14. He graduated from The Cooper Union and from Columbia. He pursued a career in engineering management, married, and raised a family. Now he devotes his time to teaching about tolerance, enjoying his grandchildren and doing volunteer work in Israel.

Helga Shepard

Helga’s parents were Polish, but she was born in Germany. Following the violence and terror of the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht), her parents sent her on a Kindertransport to England. Her father, Jakob, was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp at the outbreak of the war but her mother, Kajla, obtained his release by buying a steamship ticket for him to go to China. She was not able to join him and was arrested several times in Italy and France ending up in the French detention camp de Gurs. Eight years had passed before Helga and her parents reunited in France after the end of the war. 

Judy Traub

A native of Lamosc, Poland, Judy and her family were exiled to Siberia as political prisoners following the German invasion. They lived in Siberia, Central Asia and Germany before immigrating to the US in 1951. Judy was a school librarian and Hebrew school teacher.

Anita Weisbord

Anita was born in Vienna, Austria. Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and Austrian Jews immediately became subject to German anti-Jewish measures. The situation for Jews intensified in the wake of the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht). That event touched Anita’s family directly. Her father was arrested and sent to Dachau concentration camp. Soon thereafter, Anita’s mother sent her on a Kindertransport to England. She remained there for the duration of the war and eventually reunited with her family. After the war, she came to the United States, where she has lived ever since.

Millie Werber

Millie, and native of Poland, called the city of Radom home. When the Germans invaded, she was sent as slave labor to an ammunition factory. The skills she acquired there helped her survive Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Lippstadt labor camp. Since the end of the war, Millie has resided in the United States. Among her proudest achievements was that as President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Radomer Mutual Cultural Center, Millie helped build medical clinics in Israel.