Survivors of Kristallnacht: An 80-year immigrant perspective

Liz Salston, co-president of Hadassah of East Brunswick, left to right, with Ruth and Eugene Gottlieb at the table where their Holocaust memorabilia and books were on display.

With the rising tide of incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States and around the world, the East Brunswick chapter of Hadassah and the East Brunswick Public Library co-sponsored a program to give a moving perspective of two survivors’ personal experiences during the Holocaust.

Two survivors of Kristallnacht shared the harrowing movement of Nazi control and brutality on Feb. 26 to a packed house at the library.

Ruth Gottlieb, author of “Once We Had a Country,” told of her experience surviving the terrorism of Nazis breaking into her home on Kristallnacht, her mother’s desperation to emigrate, and how she had to adjust to a new life, new language, and new culture immigrating to America, according to information provided by Hadassah. 

Most important was Gottlieb’s call for mandatory genocide and Holocaust education. In many places Holocaust and genocide education is taught as an elective, with few taking the course, or in many places is not taught at all.  

Eugene Gottlieb, author of “From a Wine Barrel and Chicken Coops to Silicon on Sapphire” shared his story of hiding in a wine barrel during Kristallnacht, immigrating to Woodbine where he was raised on a poultry farm, and ultimately became a scientist. 

His historical perspective revealed how the headwinds of hate permeated Nazi propaganda and violence against the Jews, according to the statement.His story flowed from a harrowing escape to the immigrant experience of laboring on his father’s chicken farm.


To help immigrants in need, donations of professional clothing were collected for Hire Attire, as part of Hadassah’s outreach program. Hire Attire provides clothing to people entering the workforce.        

Hadassah of East Brunswick Co-President Elaine Silver, left, with Chris Sullivan, chair of the Outreach committee, as members collected donations of clothing for the Hire Attire boutique.
Linda Lidor, left to right, Ruth Gottlieb, Eugene Gottlieb, and Hadassah of East Brunswick co-President Elaine Silver.
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