Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “deeply moved” to meet with Holocaust survivors when he distributed food with the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island on Tuesday.
The mayor worked alongside Met Council and JCCGCI volunteers to assemble and distribute Pesach food packages for Holocaust survivors at the Coney Island JCC’s food pantry.
“I had the honor of being… in Coney Island at a wonderful Passover food distribution, organized by the Jewish Community Council of Coney Island,” de Blasio said at his press conference on Wednesday. “Amazing organization. Rabbi Wiener and everyone there, appreciate the great work you do.”
He said he had a conversation that “deeply moved him” with 95-year-old Sarah Teichman, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen.
“She told me about her experiences, she told me what she went through. She told me what life was like when she was free, and how she came to this country and found here in New York City everything she hoped and dreamed of,” de Blasio said, noting Teichman was one of the many Holocaust survivors who was vaccinated through a city and community push to reach the vulnerable survivors, and how she expressed joy and relief that she was protected from the virus.
De Blasio also stopped to speak with 82-year-old Fredrika Shabri, who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto by hiding in a potato sack as a child. Photos from the event showed the towering mayor bent to listen to the elderly woman’s story.
“[You] meet these incredible people [who] went through so much. And now we’re working to help in so many ways. It’s a reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit and the strength of all people,” said de Blasio. “And it’s very life-affirming [to] know folks that went through so much are here with us alive, well, [and] filled with life.”