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Holocaust survivor, 99, recovers from COVID-19; her husband died from it

Sara Itzinger, whose husband Zvi Herschel was virus victim, hailed by MDA paramedic grandson as a ‘strong, surviving woman’; couple met in the US after WWII

Holocaust survivor Sara Itzinger (L) and her grandson Nissan Hefetz after she recovered from COVID-19, May 2020. (Courtesy)
Holocaust survivor Sara Itzinger (L) and her grandson Nissan Hefetz after she recovered from COVID-19, May 2020. (Courtesy)

A 99-year-old woman who survived the Holocaust has now also overcome the COVID-19 illness after a month of hospitalization, Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center confirmed Monday.

“Thank you everyone, I just want to get home,” said Sara Itzinger after being discharged from the hospital, the Ynet news site reported.

Her husband, Zvi Herschel Itzinger, also a Holocaust survivor, died of the coronavirus.

The Itzingers met in the United States shortly after World War II, and they lived in Cleveland Heights before moving to Israel less than a year ago to spend time with their family. Their only daughter moved to Israel years ago and has 13 children and many grandchildren.

The couple had been living at the Maon Horim nursing home in Jerusalem, where they caught the coronavirus.

While her husband quickly succumbed to the disease, Itzinger fought it for a month before making a full recovery. The report did not specify when he died.

Their grandson, Nissan Hefetz, is a Magen David Adom paramedic in charge of coronavirus tests in Jerusalem. He personally conducted the virus tests for the Itzingers and took them to the hospital.

“We were very scared when we discovered she had been infected, because she has background illnesses,” Hefetz told Ynet. “Everyone experiences the virus differently, it had a mild effect on her while it was severe in my grandfather’s case.

“It was very hard for my grandmother after my grandfather died, but she is a strong, surviving woman, who knows how to handle any difficulties she faces while also making sure we are okay,” he added.

Itzinger has been taken to her daughter’s home, where the family will celebrate her 99th birthday.

“Sara Itzinger is an inspiration for us all that the coronavirus can be conquered at any age,” said Dr. Ariel Rokach, senior physician in Shaare Zedek’s respiratory unit.

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