Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated for eight evenings this year from December 7 through December 15, 2023. Jews pray, sing, eat certain foods, and refrain from eating forbidden foods.
The Holocaust survivor said she is looking forward to spending Hanukkah with her family, including her many grandchildren, and that it will have special meaning this year as they celebrate freedom.
About Halina Zimm
Halina Zimm is a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor. She said:
“My whole life is a miracle. Honest to God.”
Halina Drexler was born in Poland in 1927. Her parents were soap makers, and she was the youngest of three daughters. When she was 14 years old, her family was forced to separate.
“We said goodbye to my father and mother. And I have to tell you something that I will never forget. I knew then that I would never see my parents again. My father couldn’t even look at me. I will never forget that. I mean, leaving your parents so early.”
Zimm learned that her parents died in Treblinka, one of the cruelest concentration camps. Eventually, she met her husband Alan Zimm after he survived three concentration camps.
In Richmond, Virginia
After several years in Germany, the couple emigrated to the United States and settled in Richmond, Virginia at the end of 1949. Together they raised four children.
Zimm points out that Christians saved her, and it was always important to her to maintain her Jewish faith to honor her father.
“I always felt that my father and the whole family, I have a large family, died because they were Jews. It was important to him. I felt like I had to stay true to my faith.”
Zimm said seeing images of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war gives her terrible flashbacks.
“It really touched me because I’m starting to understand the Holocaust. What I went through, I mean, it’s happening again. It’s a very painful thing.”