Dearest Ruth, beautifully memorialized in the local paper today, survived the Warsaw Ghetto, Bergen-Belsen, and 98 years on this earth. She is finally at peace.
In a radio interview with PRX four years ago, Ruth (in her first time talking with the media) discussed the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and sang the Partisan song, “a song written in blood” and tinged with her horrific memories. She was famous in our community for singing that song in the synagogue on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
90% of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. And in the ghetto, food and water were cut off, and tens of thousands died of disease and starvation. Ruth’s young son perished, as well as her parents, four siblings, and relatives. Miraculously, her husband survived, and they arrived in the U.S. in the 1950s. Ruth learned English through songs and movies. To calm herself and her sons, she sang Sophia Loren’s “Whatever will be will be…” and made it her mission to speak at synagogues and schools about hatred and prejudice.
There aren’t many survivors left. And Ruth was so ready to go. She wanted to join the souls of the dead. For years she visited her husband’s grave, placing rocks on the top, and talking with him. Every night she named and spoke with the thirteen family members that were killed in the Holocaust, determined to remember. It is now our turn to remember for them.