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Esther Schwartzman, 91, passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 26, 2020, at her home in New Haven, CT. She was born in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia (now Mukachevo, Ukraine), to Usher Zelig and Leah (Weingarten) Fried. She is survived by her children, Shelley Bulman of NYC, Sarah (Yoram) Pollack of Israel, Hayim (Anne) Schwartzman of Portsmouth NH, Jerry Schwartzman of Charlotte NC, and Judy (Dan) Ostroff of Israel, as well as 13 loving grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

Esther grew up in Munkacs in the heart of the Carpathian Mountain region. With the Nazi invasion of the area in 1944, she was interned as a teenager along with her family at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. Subsequent internment in forced labor camps culminated in the Death March from the Brahnau camp from which she escaped. She and two older sisters were the only survivors of their immediate family, losing their parents and a younger brother and sister. Eventually she and her sisters made their way through Czechoslovakia and across the border into the American-occupied zone of postwar Germany. After months in refugee camps, they set sail for a new life and arrived on American shores in December 1946.

Esther married the late Rabbi Solomon U. Schwartzman in 1948 and, over the next 4 decades, they raised their family in small towns across America where Rabbi Schwartzman served as town rabbi and community leader. From 1959 until 1975 they lived in Greenfield, MA and were very active in the community. Esther served as Sisterhood president of Temple Israel and was president of the local chapter of Hadassah.

Esther is the subject of a recent episode of the podcast Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust.

The Schwartzmans moved to New Haven in 1989 upon the late Rabbi’s retirement, enjoying proximity to family and friends. They were proud members of Westville Synagogue. Esther lived an active life and loved lending a helping hand to friends and neighbors. She enjoyed travelling to Israel and Europe on many occasions and took great pride in her family.