Holocaust survivor’s 100th birthday party salvaged by family members

HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Holocaust survivor’s 100th birthday party was cancelled because of COVID-19, but the coronavirus couldn’t stop some very special surprises.

A tweet from Zippora, the survivor’s granddaughter, read, “My grandmother, my bubbe Hilda, is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who survived the camps when she was in her late teens and early 20s. She turns 100 years old on June 14th. We were supposed to have a big party celebrating her life, but had to cancel due to COVID. We’re all bummed.”

Zipporah said, “I felt if I sent out the bat signal on Twitter, someone would respond.”

Her grandmother, Hilda Frenkel, is a survivor in every sense of the word.

In 1941, at 21 years old, Frenkel and her family were sent to the Bershad ghetto in Eastern Europe during World War II.

Frenkel’s parents and brother died during the Holocaust.

Frenkel said, “On our way to the camp they made us walk for two weeks in cold and rain, and he froze his legs.”

Because of the virus, Hilda has been stuck inside her Hallandale Beach apartment for three months. Her 100th birthday party had to be canceled.

But 7News saw the tweet and showed up on Sunday with a computer, so she could see her family on her big birthday.

Frenkel’s family, from all corners of the globe, were connected virtually for Hilda’s first ever Zoom call.

On the call, family members sang, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, Hilda. Happy birthday to you!”

Frenkel was able to see her children, grandchildren and friends as far away as Argentina.

Frenkel said, “It was very interesting. I could not believe you could do that. It was very good to see everybody that I haven’t seen for a long time.”

But the surprises were not over for her.

Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County organized a birthday parade outside her condo.

People sang, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!”

Frenkel said, “I can’t believe it. I am 100. I don’t feel too bad.”

It is becoming increasingly rare to meet Holocaust survivors like Frenkel.

They are living reminders of a very dark part of human history.

Charlotte Tomic-Mowerman, Frenkel’s daughter, said, “It was not that long ago. 75 years ago, and it’s just always important to be aware of what hatred can create in terms of history.”

Zippora said, “Take everything that we can from it and learn from it and apply those lessons to the world we live in today.”

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