The Shmooze

104-Year-Old Savior (Virtually) Drops In

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

A feisty 89-year old Hanna Slome had the 320 guests at the April 1 Museum of Jewish Heritage — a Living Memorial to the Holocaust Spring Luncheon at The Pierre — “ahhing” and laughing as she recounted her survival saga.

I had known Hanna for some forty years but it wasn’t until I spotted her in the 2013 documentary “Nicky’s Family” that I — and the rest of her friends — learned of her history, which she is now sharing with audiences around the country.

In his welcoming remarks, Museum director and CEO David Marwell dubbed the event “the most rewarding of the museum’s calendar.” Luncheon co-chair Patti Kenner launched the event, and to the delight of the guests co-chair Ann Oster informed: “I’ve lost 25 lbs., had my hair done and now have a new boyfriend.” On a somber note she said: “I am Second Generation [and] you are doing a mitzvah being a witness to a Holocaust survivor. You must remember your legacy.”

Following a clip from the film, “Nicky’s Family,” Hanna, who was born in Moravska Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, began: “I did not talk about it for 60 years.” She offered a breakneck speedy overview of the historic canvas of her prewar life. Her father was a lawyer; chairman of the local Maccabbi Sports Club, there was a housekeeper, a grand piano and ski vacations. The family arranged for her and her brother’s escape, but enroute to the U.S., her father and brother learned that Czechoslovakia had been invaded by the Nazis. Hanna stayed behind with her mother.

Karen Leon
Hanna Slome, 89.

“I was lucky to be on ‘Nicky’s List,’” she said. Without seeming to take a breath and getting more laughs than many a comedian, Hanna recounted her past: “I had little education…. I was a good wife and a good mother. When I arrived in London I could not speak English…but I got a badge for swimming the [breast] stroke… I was a good maid…I changed homes… I wanted to go to school…”

En route to America on a merchant marine ship she vowed: “I was not going to be seasick.” She accidentally left her bra on the pillow of a sailor…. who got in trouble. “I went to Jamaica High School. I flunked English and Algebra…. I decided to look for a husband…. He wanted a girl with money…. Took three years to marry me…. We went on a cruise — The Staten Island Ferry.” The audience ate it up!

A surprise bonus was a video greeting to Hanna from her rescuer 104(!) year old Sir Nicholas Winton — a.k.a. “Nicky.”

Among the guests: 102-year-old author/journalist Ruth Gruber, Ruth Westheimer, museum chairman Robert Morgenthau, event co-chair Ingeborg Rennert, Holocaust survivors and museum trustee Fanya Heller, former public advocate Betsy Gotbaum, and a model thin Tovah Feldshuh enroute to Washington, D.C. to reprise her stellar “Golda’s Balcony” role.

The funds raised by the luncheon will help fund free trips to the museum for students


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.