web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Holocaust Heroines: Hilda Pistiner


LBJ-042712

When I first saw Hilda Pistiner I believed she was a German tourist. Later, when I met her personally and found out she was an Israeli born in Bukovina, I labored under a second mistaken assumption: I believed she had been a pioneer in pre-State Israel, her fresh youthful blond looks untouched by the Holocaust. How wrong have I been!

Not only is she a Holocaust survivor, but a bona fide Holocaust heroine.

Hilda Schauman was born on January 12, 1933 in Moldova Solice, Romania. In describing her childhood, Hilda admits to having been a pampered (“spoiled”) child of wealthy parents. She had the prettiest dresses, expensive toys, pets, and fun vacations in the countryside. Her indulgent parents provided everything she wanted.

At the beginning of the hostilities in Romania, and the persecution of Jews by Romanian authorities in 1938, the beautiful pampered girl was only seven-years-old. Her father was abruptly taken away, their business destroyed, their home ripped apart, and they themselves, mother Yetty and little Hilda, deported to a ghetto in the nearby city.

Under the impact of starvation, at the mercy of the bitter winter elements, and the attendant disease epidemic, Mother Yetty became ill, and eventually lost her ability to care for herself and her daughter, resigning her autonomy.

Amazingly, little Hilda stepped into the gap, overnight turning into a young woman with the determination to help both of them survive. Ignoring her fears, she left the ghetto in search of food and other essentials. Her cunning and physical stamina grew throughout the years, and eventually she started helping others with food and lodging.

The excruciating torment in a series of hellholes, from Bukovina to the Ukraine, during the years of 1941 to 1944, matured eight-year-old Hilda into an eleven-year-old heroine. Her valiant struggle helped her mother and a number of other Jewish victims of persecution to survive.

After WWII ended and Holocaust survivors were striving for a milieu of normalcy, Hilda joined a Zionist youth group, and trained for life in Israel. In 1948, months before the establishment of the State of Israel, Hilda followed the urgings of her Zionist heart, boarded an overloaded illegal ship called “The Pan York,” and sailed for Eretz Yisrael, leaving her beloved mother behind.

Yetty and Hilda had earlier discovered that in 1942, on his thirty sixth birthday, her father, Shmuel with his parents and seventeen-year-old sister Suzy had been by Romanian Nazis on the bank of the River Bug.

The distraught young widow married a man similarly bereft. His young son, Jackie Pistiner, preceded Hilda in his aliyah to the Land of Israel. A year later the two, Hilda Schauman and the nine years her senior, Jackie/now Yaakov/ Pistiner, were married. By then Yaakov had taken part in the War of Independence and held a job working for the Israel Electric Co. Hilda had completed a nursing course and was working in the medical field.

When, some time later their parents arrived in Israel, the young couple managed to help them obtain proper housing while they themselves lived in wooden barracks. In 1952, Hilda and Yaakov became parents to first-born son, Aryeh, followed by the birth in 1952 of their second son, Alon, and nine years later, to their third, Yoav. In the meantime Hilda had added social work to her nursing skills and undertook extensive field work among problematic youth. She also devoted her time and energy to volunteering among these groups, primarily immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and later Ethiopia, earning honorary distinctions from various governmental authorities.

Hilda Schauman Pistiner, the pre-teen Holocaust heroine, now mother and grandmother, still continues her life-saving activities on a large scale.

(About her latest social achievements to benefit fellow Jews – will talk about those in a future column).

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Holocaust Heroines: Hilda Pistiner”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.
Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

South-Florida-logo

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
Juta Hartman

Her grandsons were eager to reveal their grandmother’s earlier frustration with the unfair, inaccurate narrative of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Belda Kaufman Lindenbaum

The visionary champion of women’s rights in Judaism was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother.

This belief was coupled with the spirit of “Am Yisrael HaShalem” (One United People), in the Ben Yehuda household: to love and help all Jews without distinction.

It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

This led to a shouting match between the judges and what could have been the end of the show.

In 1939, Chuchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration to Palestine uprooted Arabs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/holocaust-heroines-hilda-pistiner/2012/04/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: