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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
She showed great strength and courage
Ruth Blumenthal Meyberg survived the Holocaust
Courtesy Lazan family
Valor and vigor were the attributes Ruth Blumenthal Meyberg displayed in keeping her family together during and after the Holocaust.

She lived nearly 105 years and survived the Holocaust. Ruth Blumenthal Meyberg, the mother of Hewlett resident Marion Blumenthal Lazan, died on Dec. 27, after a brief illness. She was 104.

Meyberg was born in Stallupönen, East Prussia, now part of Germany. She lived the past 22 years in Far Rockaway in Jewish Association Serving the Aging Housing and met her first husband, Walter Blumenthal, under interesting circumstances.

“Mom took a bookkeeper’s job in the small German town of Hoya,” said Lazan, who wrote the memoir “Four Perfect Peebles,” a book about the family’s Holocaust survival. “It was only two weeks after mom began work that a proposal of marriage was made to her by Walter. Mom, a bit shocked and disconcerted, left Hoya to consider the proposal.”

The decision was an affirmative one as Ruth and Walter were married in December 1931.

However, the civil unrest in Germany that would snowball into the Holocaust was already beginning. Stones were thrown at the baby carriage of son Albert, who was born in 1932.

Lazan said that her mother demonstrated “great courage and strength” while struggling to keep the family alive when the Blumenthals were in concentration camps such as Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen.

But six weeks after the family was liberated on April 23, 1945, Walter, ravaged by concentration camp living, died from typhus. “The five and a half years of concentration camp left mom weak, stricken with typhus, penniless, stateless, and, not knowing what the future would bring,” Lazan said. “How to possibly care for two sick and undernourished children, Albert age 12, and me 10? However, no challenge was ever too much for mom. Upon our family’s return to Holland, we all learned to speak Dutch. Mom, after intensive training, became a masseuse.”

Three years to the day of the family being liberated, they immigrated to the United States and arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey. With assistance from the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, the Blumenthals relocated to Peoria, Illinois.

Ruth was first a day-cleaning lady for Jewish families, then became a seamstress, who at one point worked for Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, and assisted in altering suits and other clothing for Hollywood actors. “Mom, well into her nineties, would sew on buttons and even threaded her own needles,” Lazan said. “She folded laundry, dried and put away dishes and made every effort to be useful and productive. When there was something she could no longer do, mom would say, ‘old age is for the birds.’”

A constant “doer,” Ruth clipped interesting newspaper articles to pas on to her family and loved watching the Concord departing and arriving at JFK Airport.

She is survived by her daughter and son, three grandchildren and their spouses, 10 great-grandchildren and a great great granddaughter.

“May mom’s memory serve as blessing to you all, and may my beloved mother rest in peace,” Lazan said.

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