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Somers Holocaust Survivor To Speak In Mahopac For Remembrance Day

Somers resident Susan Lowenberg likes her winters in Florida.
Somers resident Susan Lowenberg likes her winters in Florida. Photo Credit: Submitted

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Susan Lowenberg, who was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1933, the year Hitler came to power, doesn't like to talk about the Holocaust, but knows she must.

"The memories are very painful," she said. "I've been spending all my life trying to forget them."

On the other hand, the Somers resident recognizes the importance of telling her story. And so, on Sunday, April 19, in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is Thursday, she will be among a group of congregants at Temple Beth Shalom in Mahopac sharing her story.

The abbreviated version: She was interned at age nine at Thieresnstandt and was there for three and a half years. "We were very, very lucky," she said, "My father was a chef and therefore his services were used by the Nazis, so I was with my whole family -- my parents, my brother, and my grandmother."

Lowenberg didn't live with her parents but was placed with other children and used as a messenger throughout the camp.

"Most everyone we knew were shipped east," she said. "But because of my father, we stayed."

She said she was one of 100 children to survive the camp, out of what originally had been thousands.

The camp was liberated by the Russians when she was 12 and the family moved back to Germany for a year before emigrating to the U.S. and landing in Brookyn.

"I don’t have to tell you the atrocities," she said. "They were bad. They robbed me of my childhood."

Lowenberg said she's tried very hard to block out the memories. "I went in as a happy child and came out a very serious teenager," she said.

Holocast Remembrance Day, however, is important to her. "We have to honor history so it doesn't repeat itself," she said. "We need to keep the history alive...our children have to tell their children and their children have to tell their children."

She, in fact, went back with her children and two of her grandchildren to the town of her birth three years ago on Bavaria's invitation. "I have to give them credit," she said. "They were very generous but it meant nothing to me. It left me kindof cold."

Lowenberg raised two kids in various Tri-State area locales, including Long Island, Saratoga Springs, Putnam and Somers. Her husband was in education -- he was Superintendent of Schools in Carmel at one point--  so they moved around a bit.

She now has four grandchildren and one great-grandaughter and splits her time between Somers and Florida.

And though she admits it took a long time for her to tell her son and daughter about her War experiences, they have now heard her story many times.

The program at Temple Beth Shalom starts at 4 p.m. and will include other stories along with Lowenberg's. The temple is located at 760 US-6; call (845) 628-6133 for more details.

For other Westchester-area Remembrance Day stories, go here .

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