Sara Kay of Beachwood died Oct. 26, 2019, at age 93. Sara was born in Wielun, Poland in October 1926, to her beloved parents Wolfe and Aidl.
She was a survivor of the Holocaust, and came to Cleveland with her husband, Max Kay (Moses Krzepicki), and their two oldest children on Jan. 3, 1952. Sara and Max were married for 53 years until his death in 1999. Their children were Dr. William Kay, Abraham Kay (Bonnie, deceased) and Dr. Marsha Kay. Her grandchildren are Dr. Ethan Kay (Sarika Bansal), Alana Kay (deceased), Dr. Benjamin Kay (Dr. Amanda Zerkel) and Samuel Kay.
Sara was displaced on the first day of World War II when the Luftwaffe attacked her hometown. Her father was killed on the third day of the war.
Because her home had been destroyed by the bombing on Sept. 1, 1939, she, her mother, younger sister and grandfather stayed with cousins in Wielun. Her mother then sent her to live with an uncle in nearby Krzepice. It was from there that she was taken to the Parshnitz concentration camp, where she was enslaved until liberation on May 8, 1945. The rest of her 102-member extended family was murdered during the war, primarily at the Chelmno concentration camp.
After liberation, Sara returned to Wielun, where she met her husband-to-be, Max Kay, a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto, and the Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps. They were married in Lodz on Oct. 10, 1945. They then fled Wielun for the last time following attacks by Polish residents against returning Jewish survivors. From there they moved to Marktredwitz, Germany, living as displaced persons until departing for the United States on the SS General Stewart on Dec. 20, 1951.
The family was settled in Cleveland by HIAS and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Sara worked at Joseph’s Bakery on Kinsman Road, while earning her GED at John Adams High School’s night school.
Following the birth of their daughter, Marsha, the family settled in Beachwood, where Sara would live for the rest of her life. She joined Oheb Zedek Synagogue in 1959, becoming a life trustee and taking an active role in the merger with Cedar Sinai Synagogue (now called Oheb Zedek Cedar Sinai Synagogue). She was a life member of Kol Israel Foundation, and served on the Yom Hashoah Program Planning Committee.
Sara is remembered fondly by her family for long visits during which she would continuously peel apples while relating her memories. Her favorite color was red, which she frequently noted would make everyone look good if only they had the courage to wear it. She would often make sure to plant red-lipstick kisses on her grandchildren’s cheeks.
Sara was a devoted caretaker when her granddaughter Alana and husband Max fell ill. She would carefully strain homemade chicken broth, which she called “Jewish penicillin,” so that it could be delivered at the hospital briefly through a feeding tube for her husband when he was ill.
When she moved to Wiggins Pace in 2015, Sara looked forward to attending Kabbalat Shabbos, study classes and regular musical performances. She was especially fond of classic Broadway showtunes and polkas.
She died on the 27th of Tishrei, her Jewish birthday.
Contributions are suggested to the Kol Israel Foundation, Oheb Zedek Cedar Sinai Synagogue, or to the Sara and Max Kay Music Fund at Wiggins Place.