Harry Singer – Hershel ben Avraham ve-Sarah – 2017

We’re here today to mourn the passing but also to honor the life of Harry Singer, beloved father, grandfather and cherished friend. While we are sad today, we know, and it’s not a platitude, that he is no longer suffering, and we are content that he is at peace.

Harry was born in Ostrowiec, Poland on September 7, 1924 to Abraham and Sarah Singer. He was raised with his two brothers, Paul and David and his sister Shirley. Even at a young age, he worked in a small soda factory to help the poor Jewish family have enough to eat. His father realized what was going to happen and tried to go to Canada but he was turned away because he was malnourished. They lived for two years in Nazi-occupied Poland. Harry then was taken to Auschwitz.. Imagine, he was a teenager in Auschwitz. People who know they were going to die gave him their rations. At times, he hid under dead bodies so that he wouldn’t be taken to be killed. He survived Auschwitz for 2 ½ years.

When the liberation took place almost exactly sixty-five years to the day, he was in the group left behind. He was taken to a hospital. He was at a hospital in western Poland and his brother was taken to a hospital in eastern Poland. They each started walking across Poland and somehow, they found each other in the middle of the country. Eventually they found their mother and their brother David. The other day, the doctor at Hospice saw the tattooed number on Hsrry’s forearm and realized he had been in the Holocaust.

They came to America on a boat and came to Waterbury. He didn’t know English so he went to night school. In his career, Harry worked as a watchmaker, operated a laundromat on Legion Avenue in New Haven, and worked for Spectra Strip in Hamden as a Quality Control Inspector.

Harry and Naomi met in Waterbury. Harry had a friend from the boat on which he came over from Europe who set Harry and Naomi up on a blind date.
They dated for four years before they got married on Sept. 2, 1951 and they had a great marriage for 62 years. Harry and Naomi moved to Hamden where they raised their two children Debra and Robert. Naomi was a beautiful and wonderful wife. Harry said: “You couldn’t find a better wife.” At the end of her life, he kissed her and she passed away. And now at the end of his life, Debra told him “go and be with Mommy” and he went.

Debbie and Robert have been loyal and caring children all along. They have wonderful memories of happy childhoods with loving parents. We thank Janet for everything she has done for Harry and been to him. Harry lived for 1½ years at Robert and Janet’s house. Harry would speak with Robert in Yiddish. Debra has been the devoted and caring daughter who always knew what to do and what to say, even when things were at their most difficult.

Harry cherished his two grandsons Daniel and Michael and loved Daniel’s wife Laura. He was proud of them.

We mourn today with his beloved nieces Laurie and Sharon Singer.

Harry was an active member of this shul, Temple Beth Sholom, for forty years. Harry and Naomi were very constant shul-goers, to both Shabbat services and daily minyans. His Jewish faith was very important to him. He was very respectful of Judaism and Jewish traditions. Later, he was active at Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach, Fl.

The amazing part to me is that this person who went through the most horrible things in the world was never a bitter or angry person. Harry was a good man, an interesting person, a likable person. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone not liking him. So he saw the worst things that people have ever done to other people, and he still built a beautiful marriage and family and he loved his people and religion. This to me speaks volumes about Harry Singer.

We wish Debbie and Robert and the whole family G-d’s comfort at this sad time. Harry was a righteous woman. May he rest in peace. Let us say Amen.