Rita Znamirowski, left, shares a laugh with her husband, Teddy, on April 29, 2004.
(Photo: The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News)
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- She survived the Holocaust, chaos in post-World War II Europe, the war that gave birth to the state of Israel and 20 years with cancer.
But there was one thing Rita Znamirowski could not survive: the loss of her husband of 57 years, Teddy.
Rita Znamirowski died Wednesday at her Montebello home - a week to the day after the death of her husband and fellow Holocaust survivor.
She was buried Friday next to her husband.
"She was determined to see the love of her life again," said her grandson, Erik LeMoullec. "Can you blame her?"
"You can't talk about one without talking about the other," said her son-in-law, Bob LeMoullec. "Their relationship was something that all of us want but few of us have."
Rita Znamirowski was born in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, home to a large Jewish population, in 1937.
Her father joined the Red Army and was killed in the war. She and her mother escaped to the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where they took shelter.
Four of her siblings perished in the Holocaust. At the end of the war, the 9-year-old girl and her widowed mother made their way to a displaced persons camp.
That was where she met Teddy Znamirowski, a 16-year-old who had been liberated from Auschwitz, the German death camp in occupied Poland.
Teddy Znamirowski helped the girl and her mother escape to Palestine. He made his way there as well and fought in Israel's War of Independence.
A few years later, Teddy Znamirowski met Rita again. Three months later, they married.
Teddy Znamirowski was a bus driver in Israel and he would honk the horn three times to signal "I love you" when he drove past their apartment, their daughter recalled.
The couple and their two daughters, Tova Znamirowski-Berman and Eti Znamirowski-LeMoullec, moved to the United States in the 1960s, eventually settling in Rockland County, N.Y.
Teddy was a contractor, though his wife - who never lost her accent - gave a different impression of his work when she explained that he was in "sheetrock."