PROVIDENCE – “You buying?” So asked Aron Lieb, a Holocaust survivor, to Susan Kushner Resnick’s invitation to have coffee together one day.
Although the two, who met by chance at a Jewish Community Center in the suburbs of Boston, Mass., never introduced themselves to one another, their conversations continued for 15 years. They ended, said Susan Kushner Resnick in a June 4 program at Laurelmead, with Aron’s death.
Those conversations became memorialized in her book, “You Saved Me, Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me About Living, Dying, Loving, Fighting and Swearing in Yiddish” (Globe Pequot Press, 2012).
In an evening program sponsored by the Holocaust Education and Resource Center, Kushner Resnick spoke about Aron and the relationship she and her family developed with the Holocaust survivor.
She explained that Aron saved her by giving her life meaning and purpose. When she first met Aron, she was the mother of an infant and struggling with post-partum depression. She, in turn, helped Aron with all manner of life’s essentials – from finding him a place to live and helping him with his finances to welcoming him to her family home for simchas and holidays.
Ambivalent about being Jewish and, by her own admission, not particularly knowledgeable about what was occurring during synagogues services, Kushner Resnick added that Aron was reluctant to attend synagogue services after World War II. The only time he did so, said Kushner Resnick, was to attend her daughter’s bat mitzvah.
Although she said that now feels a bit more comfortable when she attends services, she sheepishly confessed that her book contains a little bit of “Jewish swearing, but not a lot. I don’t understand it. If someone can tell us some Yiddish swear [words], that’d be good,” said Kushner, before she read excerpts from the book.
Her book captures her love for Aron: “I love you because you can’t stop fighting. You fight your doctors and nurses … the headache you’ve had since before the war, me, drugs… I love you because you make me feel like a hero, but you’re the hero … I love you because you still flirt, because you know when I need you to come back to this world … because you still fight.”