BDE: Mrs Rizel Moskowitz, 101, Holocaust Survivor
By: BZ Green
The nifteres hailed from the town of Chudlovo, Czechoslovakia. Her parents were Reb Yitzchok Yaakov and Esther Klein.
She recalled the beautiful Jewish life that thrived in Chudlovo. "We never believed that what was happening to the rest of Eastern European Jewry could happen to us," she would relate to her children.
But then the churban arrived.
"It was Pesach of 1944," she recalled. "I remember reading in the newspapers 'Jude Verreche, Jews must perish.' Who would believe these were the same German people known before the war for their culture and education? The Germans that we saw here were nothing more than barbaric savages. Our gentile neighbors—they were no better. Their eyes gleamed with joy when we were taken; they had not one ounce of pity in their hearts," she remembered.
She described the horrific conditions in Auschwitz, and in the other labor camps where she and her sister clung together. The rest of her family was wiped out by the Nazis, ym”sh.
In 1946, she married in Slovakia to her husband R' Chaim Shulem Moskowitz, and they soon immigrated to America, where they established new generations.
“Her entire survival was only through the strength of her Emunah and bitachon,” relates a granddaughter. All her 'lagger shvesters' wanted to be around her as she sang to lift up their spirits. “Our grandmother’s experiences served as a lifelong lesson to us that when one faces challenges, we have only our Emunah and bitachon to get us through.”
While her husband davened at the Gerer shtiebel on 49th Street, Mrs. Moskowitz was a fixture at the famed Shomrei Shabbos Shul, where she would walk every shabbos into her old age. She was a beloved presence wherever she went, especially to the her family.