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גפן מגזין המושבות > כללי > The English Post: Our Amazing Olim: Berta Klipstein
22 לינואר 2021
The English Post: Our Amazing Olim: Berta Klipstein
Heidi Goldsmith, 2021-01-22 - 10:00

  Name: Berta Klipstein, age 93.5 ("11 months younger than the Queen!”)0
Born:  Bielsko, Poland
Family: Widowed, 2 sons, 5 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren
Aliyah to Israel, directly to Zichron Yaakov: October 2018

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Berta personifies the term “Resilience.”  She readily shares, “I’ve had a very interesting life”.  She seems to remember the details of every day of her past, along with new things she is learning from the many books she reads – almost a book a day on Kindle Unlimited -- and the online classes she takes.  “I spend a lot of time learning about the period when my family was isolated from the rest of the world, during the War (World War II). We didn’t know what was going on.” 0

Berta speaks 4 languages fluently. “All are easy, compared to Hebrew”, she asserts, though she has completed all the Hebrew courses by Pimsleur online and reviews them frequently.  She also listens to a lot of music via Youtube
 
A book about her life, primarily her life during World War II, has been written and can be read online
   Most of the book focuses on her life from ages 9 – 19, describing her childhood in Poland and then her challenging, riveting life during the War. She was deported with her family to the Siberian gulag where they were slave laborers, to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and back to Poland.  Disease, transport in cattle cars, hunger, narrow escapes on all kinds of vehicles, scorpions – all were part of these years.  She eventually arrived at age 19 in the United Kingdom as part of Kindertransport
 
There are constants in her life Berta claims saved her:0

 During the War her family decided never to be separated, and never to accept Russian citizenship

Education was always of prime importance. Berta studied Chemistry and Math at London
University, at a time few women studied Chemistry and Math, having to first learn English and pass the British Matriculation, though she had already passed Russian Matriculation exams.  She taught in schools and was a translator
 
I’m a designer”  She learned to knit from her grandmother at age 8, while recovering from scarlet fever. Throughout her life this brought in critical income.  She still knits all her own clothes, never buying in stores, and knits gifts for her family
 
Appreciation“I’m so lucky to be alive!  So many times, including the second day of the War, when I was shot at, and recently in the UK, I almost died.”0
Berta wants people to take notice of other aspects of the Holocaust which are less mentioned, or unknown to most people, including Jews.  “There were 1.5 million people extradited to the Siberian Gulag during the War.  Not all were Jews, but many were.  It was not easy.”
Both of her sons are married with children and grandchildren.  One son, Phillip Klipstein, has lived in Zichron Yaakov for 20 years with his wife, Judy Kleinman, and their four children, and now a grandson.  He and his family shop for Berta during these Corona times, and visit frequently via ZOOM and when possible in person
 
What do you think makes you so resilient?  “You just face it.  You don’t think about it.  I’ve learned not to miss things.  Just go on to the next thing".0
 
Being Part of the Community:  “I couldn’t be luckier than to live in this beautiful place!  I want to know more people.”0
 
What is your biggest challenge due to the current Covid-19 situation? "I don’t go out much, and I don’t know many people yet so I’m a little lonely sometimes."  0
 
 
What are you most proud of?  "My family.  All of them".0
 
Berta Klipstein can be reached at bertaklipstein@gmail.com

 

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