Elizabeta Guttmann, born in Hungary, was a young girl when the Second World War broke out. In 1943, Elizabeta, together with her sisters and parents, was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her parents and three little sisters were killed in the camp. Elizabeta clung on to her life and survived. At the end of the war, she returned to her childhood village and married Sandor ז"ל, who had also lost his family. For 20 years, they dreamed of immigrating to Israel but were denied time after time. Only in 1965 were they able to realize their dream and make aliyah. Together, they made a home and raised a family of children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.
To our great sorrow, Elizabeta ended her life alone. The wicked coronavirus took her life with none of her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren by her side in her last moments. There was nobody to hold her hand, to embrace her for the last time, to say goodbye. 900 Holocaust survivors passed away just in Israel, as a direct result of the pandemic. They survived the ghettoes and the death camps, the immigrant ships and the internment camps. But the final battle of their lives was fought with them bewildered and isolated, behind masks and gloves, yearning for contact but parted from their loved ones. This evening, our hearts are with them and their families. We remember their courage, their spirit. We remember the inspiration and strength they gave us and still give us. May their memories be a blessing.