Joined: 20 Aug 2006
Location: New York
|Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:31 am Post subject: Sonja van der Horst 1923-2006 holocaust survivor
|Sonja van der Horst, a holocaust survivor who lived in Olean, NY, for most of her life, died Wednesday (March 1, 2006) in Chapel Hill N.C. after a lengthy illness. She was 82.
Mrs. van der Horst, whose home was on Hillcrest Ave. moved to N.C. in Oct. after being Diagnosed with a brain tumor.
She was born Chaya Eichenbaum Teichholz on Dec. 16, 1923 to Naftali & Chawa Teichholz in Tarnopol, Poland now part of the Ukraine. She had to take her motherís last name because Jewish marriages werenít legally recognized at the time.
At age 15 she witnessed the Soviet invasion of Tarnopol, Poland on Sept 1 1939 when Poland was divided by the Soviet Union & Nazi Germany under the treaty between the two nations as World War II began. After Nazi forces invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 the Germans entered Tarnopol on July 22 1941. They forced Jews into a ghetto and systematically eliminated them with a series of actions, including one in November of 1942 during which her father and sister, Malka , were shot to death and her mother was sent to a concentration camp.
Mrs. Van der Horst survived by assuming a false Ukranian name and working as a non-Jewish slave laborer in Germany. At the end of the war she worked as a translattor in displaced persons camp where she met Johnannes Martinus Arnold van der Horst.
They married Oct. 11 1945 and lived in the Nrtherlands where they had two children before emigrating to the US and settling in Olean NY in 1952.
Mr. Ven der Horst, a native of Holland who died in 1978 at the age of 59 was a chemical engineer who worked with the van der Horst Corp. and later as an independent consultant. He was active in community affairs, serving as president of the Olean Public Library Board and on the board of the local American Field Service Committee, which sent high school students from Olean to foreign countries.
In their names, a disguised professorship of Jewish history and culture has been establised at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Mrs. Van der Horst also donated her Olean home to Temple BíNai Israel in Olean NY.
Mrs. Will be buried next to her husband at Portville NY cemetery.
Sonja van der Horstís testimony can be seen on her web site