Museum of Jewish Heritage steps up to protect Holocaust survivors during pandemic

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- The Museum of Jewish Heritage is stepping in to protect Holocaust survivors and make sure they are safe and not alone.

Toby Levy, 86, is a Holocaust survivor and a regular speaker at the museum to teach children about that dark stain on history.

During the long quarantine period, she has tried to stay healthy and active while home alone in Brighton Beach.

"I read a book. I work on a puzzle. I talk on the phone a lot," she said.

Among those calling her are the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

There are 36 Holocaust survivors who volunteer at the museum, and for the last few months, staff members have been reaching out to all of the survivors every week to make sure they are OK.

"We end up talking about food and recipes and whether their TV is working," said Elizabeth Edelstein, the VP of Education at the museum.

For two frightening years, Levy and her relatives were hidden by a Catholic family in Poland. They lived in the barn with a pig and chickens, not making a sound.

When children now ask her about hate, she quotes her father.

"He used to say, if you hate, you will not make it, you will destroy yourself, hate will destroy you," Levy said.

Levy has tested negative for COVID-19 and the antibodies.

Other survivors did get sick, but thankfully have recovered.

"They're our inspiration, our guiding lights," said museum President and CEO Jack Kliger. "They're precious to us."

The museum is now trying to extend their lecture series virtually until it's safe to gather again in person.

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