Remembering Those We’ve Lost
During these extraordinarily difficult times, we all know of a friend or family member whose lives were affected by COVID-19. Selfhelp is privileged to serve 25,000 older adults – among the most vulnerable during this health crisis. Each one is a unique individual with a unique story, and a valued member of our Selfhelp family.
Tragically, we have lost 191 clients and 4 staff members since the start of the pandemic. May we remember each of them and the role they played in our lives and the lives of so many. They are, and will always be, forever in our hearts. Please join with us in honoring the memory of these special people.
~ Sol Roth ~
Sol Roth loved life. He was a devoted family man. He was married for 58 years to his beloved Fay. He loved to travel. He loved to dance - he was still dancing at senior center gatherings until the very end of his life. He was a wonderful story teller. His social worker loved to visit him. Being with him made you feel happy.
Sol Roth lost his parents, four of his five siblings, and their family-owned business in the Holocaust. When the Nazis came to his region in Hungary he was sent to jail for selling sugar. He was in jail for over two years. He and a group of other young men were selected to dig out unexploded bombs. Sol Roth was then sent to Mauthausen - one of the worst concentration camps. He was unwilling to share the details of his life there more than to say it was terrible. He was fed very little, and people died every day. Mr. Roth never shared his story with his family - he didn’t want to burden them with the details of his life.
When Mr. Roth came to this country after the war, he knew how to do one thing - cook. He got a job as a short order cook. From there he went on to become a highly successful restaurant owner. He had delis in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He was very proud of his accomplishments as a business man. He and his wife Fay were able to travel all over the world when he retired. Mr. Roth was 98 years old when he died.
– Written by Frances Tarshish, Social Worker Supervisor
~ Maxine Foster-Day ~
If I could only choose one word that best describes Ms. Maxine, I would choose faithful.
Maxine Foster Day was a:
- faithful employee
- faithful co-worker
- faithful friend
In my 20 years of employment at Selfhelp, I've never seen anyone so proud of being a home health aide as Maxine Foster-Day. Her eyes would sparkle when she would come to the office. She always had a warm firm hug that was deliberately long. I knew it was her way of showing that it mattered.
Have you ever known someone that you knew without a doubt would never let you down? That's who Ms. Maxine was to me. I always got the sense that she knew that the work she was doing went far beyond the physical tasks. I always got the sense that she was made for this "work".
Maxine Foster's devotion to her job compelled my admiration. It's because of extraordinary people like her, that I have hope for the true mission of home care, and our ability to provide excellent care to those in need.
...and if I neglected to express all of this to her while she was here, I will not neglect to honor her now. To me she is one of our Selfhelp Heroes.
-Written by: Dorothy Sanchez
~ Mary Weiss ~
Mary Weiss was born on February 7, 1925 in Romania. She survived Auschwitz and came to the US in 1966. She worked as a dress maker in boutiques on Madison Avenue and then in boutiques in Queens. She was a kind person and a dedicated wife with a great sense of humor who would help anyone. She was a good cook and avid baker and loved sharing recipes. She had friends whose children treated her like a grandmother, inviting her to holiday dinners, weddings and celebrations. In 2012, Selfhelp's Holocaust Survivor Program became her legal guardian. Her social worker understood that she was a very private and independent person and when she had to go into a nursing home, every effort was made to bring her home. Unfortunately, Mrs. Weiss never regained the strength to return to her home safely. Her social worker continued to be a dedicated presence in her life, visiting every 2–3 weeks and continuing to provide this companionship even when her dementia progressed and it was difficult for Mrs. Weiss to communicate. Tragically, Mrs. Weiss passed away from COVID-19 on April 25, 2020 at 95 years old. She will be greatly missed by her friends and her Selfhelp family.
~ Eva Konrad Hawkins ~
At age 23, shortly after the defeat of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, Eva Konrad escaped from Hungary. Soon after, she came to the US. She already had a B. A. in biology, and decided to continue her studies. She obtained a Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation on algae. Soon after, she married and moved to New York City, (she divorced after several years). She loved New York City and lived there the rest of her life. Dr. Hawkins's most interesting professional appointments in New York City included research at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island and the design of a diorama of submarine environment for the New York Museum of Natural History; she taught biology at several colleges.
Shared by Paul Zador:
The Konrad and Zador families lived for over a century in Berettyoujfalu, a small town in North-Eastern Hungary. The Konrad children were my first cousins. In late April of 1944, the Konrad and Zador parents were arrested by the gendarme and deported to Austria for forced labor, a few days before the rest of the Jews, some 300 families, were deported from Berettyoujfalu to Auschwitz to be murdered. We, four children, aged 7 to 14, (see below) were left alone. Fortunately, both families had relatives in Budapest who offered to take care of us. After paying bribes to local authorities, we were allowed to leave the area. A former employee of my father, a Christian, accompanied us to Budapest. Eventually, it was the courageous and very clever wife, Zsofi Vago-Zador, of my uncle, Julius Zador, who saved the life of us four (Eva and George Konrad and Istvan and Paul Zador), and of her own son, the 9 years old Peter. We lived through the siege of Budapest, and of the murderous Arrow Cross takeover of the government, in the International Ghetto under Swiss protection obtained for us by aunt Zsofi. Details of all this has been described by the internationally well-known writer, George Konrad, Eva's brother, in one of his books, Departure and Return.
The Konrad parents, Rosa and Joseph, survived and returned. My uncle Julius and my father Bela were killed in the Holocaust.
Eva 14, George 11, Istvan 11, Paul 8
~ Tibor Horovitz (Tibi) ~
Tibor Horovitz (Tibi) was born in Hajduszovat, Hungary. Tibi was one of four children, three brothers and one sister. They were forced to wear a yellow star to show they were Jewish. Tibi with his siblings and mother were taken to a ghetto in Hungary. After the ghetto they were taken to a concentration camp by cattle car to Strasshof in Austria. In Strasshof, Tibi's hair was cut off, clothes and shoes were taken, and he was forced to walk to another camp, the 21st Lager. Coincidentally, his wife to be Livia, was in the 12th Lager. Every day all the children were given a different job to do. One of Tibi's jobs at age 11 was to pick up the rubble after the bombs went off. At some point, Tibi was taken to a more horrifying concentration camp, Mauthausen, where he saw many people die. Death was all around him. To keep warm, he had to sleep on top of about 55 dead bodies because the floor was so cold.
When the Germans realized that the Russians and Americans were coming to free the prisoners, they attempted to kill the remaining people but were not successful. Thankfully, Tibi, his parents and his siblings survived. The American soldiers liberated Tibi's family and they were told to return home. It took several weeks for them to walk all the way back home. Upon their arrival they were saddened to see that their house was destroyed, so they went to relatives and neighbors houses and received some food. But it was very difficult for Tibi's parents to support the whole family so his parents made the difficult decision to send some of their children to a Zionist boarding home created by a Jewish organization. The Zionist home was far from the parent's residence.
Tibi finished trade school to learn tool and die making. Then he went to Budapest where he landed a job. Tibi lived there for a few years with his relatives. When the Hungarian Revolution broke out, he escaped to Austria together with his cousin, George, who lived in Australia and just recently passed away. In addition, Tibi escaped with Livia, who later became his wife, and her friend who moved to Canada.
Tibor Horovitz (Tibi) married his wife Livia in 1957 in Austria while escaping together from Hungary to the United States, specifically New York, after knowing each other for just five weeks. He came to New York with only the clothes on his back and built a wonderful life for his wife and two daughters, Judy and Debbie. The couple initially lived in the Bronx in the same building as Livia's parents. They all saved up their money and put a down payment on a house in Rego Park, Queens, and lived together happily with their two daughters for many years.
Tibi owned a tool and die business. Upon its close he purchased a taxi medallion and cab and worked 12 to 14 hours a day to support his family. Many famous people were in Tibi's cab such as Eddie Fisher, Mohammed Ali, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, just to name a few. He drove over two million miles throughout his taxi career. Tibi worked six days a week for 20 years so he could send money to his parents and family members in Hungary and Israel.
Tibi was known for his amazing sense of humor. He was constantly joking and very rarely sad. Unfortunately, sadness came upon him two years ago, when he lost his eldest daughter to ovarian cancer. This devastating loss was very difficult for Tibi and the whole family. But Tibi was a very strong and loving person and persevered for the surviving family which included his four grandchildren, Alex, Evan, Austin and Jared (who calls himself Mr. Horovitz, Jr.).
Tibi was a special and unique man. He was a wonderful husband who never told his wife no. Tibi was a devoted father and a caring grandfather. He was a very loyal friend and was liked by everyone who met him. He passed away on April 9th, 2020 at the age of 86. He will be greatly missed.
~ George Dean ~
Like many New Yorkers, George came to New York from elsewhere. A native of Georgia, George met his wife Marguerite when they were both in graduate school at the University of Texas. He graduated with a degree in environmental chemistry, and remained in Texas for many years, working for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. After moving to Jackson Heights, Queens, George started a second career as a social worker, after obtaining a social work degree from Fordham University. A lifelong learner, George was an avid reader, compassionate listener, and was ready and eager to converse on a wide variety of subjects, from science to the arts. George and Marguerite celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary in January 2020.
~ Alice Roland ~
Ms. Alice Roland was a lovely woman, who was a client of Selfhelp Community Services, Holocaust Survivor Program. Ms. Roland was a retired administrative assistant of the United Nations and lived for many years on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ms. Roland was a Holocaust survivor and following the war she lived with her father who was also a Holocaust survivor. Ms. Roland was warm and extremely kind. Ms. Roland loved to travel and made many trips to England, Israel and throughout the United States. Ms. Roland loved animals. She had a vast collection of statues and stuffed animals.
A social worker from Selfhelp's Holocaust Survivor Program visited her at the nursing home weekly and checked in with the nurse and social worker to ensure Ms. Roland was well and had all she needed to make her comfortable.
Her social worker stated, "A fond memory I have of Ms. Roland is when I visited Ms. Roland on her birthday at the Nursing Home and brought her balloons, a card and a stuffed animal. She was so happy to have her special day remembered. She told the other residents and staff that it was her birthday and to look at the wonderful gifts she received".
We were approached by a New York State Supreme Court Justice requesting that we serve in this capacity and asked us to help Ms. Roland return home after her stay in a nursing home. Ms. Roland was extremely happy with the plan to return home. Selfhelp supported Ms. Roland's return home by preparing her apartment with a thorough cleaning, new A/C units, grab bars in the bath, purchasing new furniture including a bed and couch, new paint and ceiling fans, her clothes were cleaned, and her pantry was filled with food. Her Selfhelp social worker also made sure she had a new hearing aid while she was at the nursing home and kept her friends and neighbors informed of her health and wellbeing.
On the day she was to be going home, Ms. Roland became ill and was unable to be discharged from the nursing home. Unfortunately Ms. Roland had contracted pneumonia and needed to be hospitalized, which is where she learned she tested positive for COVID. After battling the disease and receiving many treatments from her care team, Ms. Roland passed away. The entire Selfhelp Holocaust Survivor team is devastated. She was a brave, sweet and kind woman. A survivor in so many ways and she will never be forgotten.
- Written by Ruth Rosado, LMSW Director, Selfhelp's Holocaust Survivor Program