Margot Sarne, Holocaust survivor, died on December 22, 2021. She is survived by her adoring son Ralph, (Rona), and grandson, Daniel; and her daughter Judy, (Sam) and granddaughter, Jamie. Funeral services and shiva were private due to Covid. This loving remembrance is written by her daughter-in-law, Rona Sarne.
Margot Hoffman was born in 1922 in Hamburg, Germany, the youngest of three sisters. They called her, "Pummfel, " because of her chubby little cheeks. They all loved her beautiful curly hair. Mom had fond memories of good times with her dear sisters, Inge and Elli, and her parents, Sophie and Julius. She loved to sing and play the accordion. Life became hard for Jewish families in Germany under Hitler. Her family remained intact until 1939 when her parents sent her older sisters to live safely in London, England but Margot was deemed too young to leave, so she stayed in the city with her parents. Many hours of her teenage years were spent huddled in air-raid shelters as the bombing of Hamburg shattered the city. She spoke of having to wear the yellow star at all times on her clothing to identify her as a Jew, and working at the Jewish Orphanage, but we know nothing about how she and her family survived the Hitler regime because she never shared her experiences.
At the end of the war, Margot reconnected with a congregant of her synagogue, a survivor of seven concentration camps, Fritz Sarne. He was a jovial, elfin, very intelligent older man, committed to bear witness to the Holocaust he so miraculously survived. They lived at 16 Dillstrasse in Hamburg until February of 1950, when the frigid waters of the Atlantic carried them and their infant son Ralph to America, a date they would actively celebrate every year, flags in hand. Ralph, Dan and I stood in front of that house and visited her high school on our 2010 trip back to what was Judishe Hamburg in 2010. Their daughter Judy was born in 1953. In the 60's Margot later accompanied Fred to travel to Germany many times when he testified at Crimes Against Humanity trials, specifically against I.G. Farben Industries.
What made her happy? For decades, she would not miss her line-up of afternoon soap operas, making sure to have her VCR set up to record them all. She was known for her delicious challah, kamishbrot, rouladen and goulash. She enjoyed working at 3 local bakeries, retiring in the 80's to spend more time in Florida, and to travel to England and Israel to visit close family. She loved hanging out with our family, especially with their new young friends, my parents--Shirley and Ken, (especially my father.) They had some wild times together! Margot and my Israeli/ Aussie sister, Caren, had a special bond, full of laughter and love.
Margot and Fred's Jewish faith remained intact in spite of their Shoah years in Germany. Judaism became the keystone of their 49 years together. I learned how to celebrate the holidays the German European way. Our Yontif meals and celebrations with Mom were very special to Ralph, Dan, me, and later Whitney. We treasure 30 years of L'Dor v'Dor here at our Holland home, especially Dan and his Omie's silly antics at the table. Dan developed a very special relationship with his beloved Omie.
In Assisted Living, as her dementia progressed, Margot continued to love music whether it was big band swing, classical or Judaica. As I conducted the Chandler Hall chorus, helped lead the Shabbat services, or volunteered at the 'Big Band' activities, there she was grinning and making faces at me, a bit confused that I was not sitting next to her. For the last twelve years, as I cut her hair every 6 weeks, we would share wonderful hours singing the entire Friday night service together, punctuated by repetitions of, "Now don't cut it too short," literally every 3 minutes. I miss that. In fact, the last intelligible words Mom spoke to me this past summer were, "Not too short!"
Thank you for your love, Mom, and for giving me your wonderful son, Ralphie. Thank you for teaching me how to be a better Jewish hausfrau. Thank you for helping me mit meine Deutsche.
Mom, the Sarne family is growing. You didn't get to meet your great grandson, but we'll tell you and Fritzie all about him as soon as he bursts into this world. I have a feeling he's gonna be a big one. And we'll tell him wonderful stories about you.
To honor the memory of Margot Sarne, please donate to the Anti Defamation League in her name.
Arrangements by Joseph Levine and Sons www.levinefuneral.com