Kinder Talk: Ruth Zimbler’s Fascinating Family Journey


January 10, 2024    
2:00 pm EST - 3:30 pm EST

Event Type

Ruth Zimbler, now 95 years young, was born in Vienna where her father was a leader of the Jewish community. She was only 10 years old, and her brother Walter was 6 years old, when they experienced the Anschluss and then, on Kristallnacht, when they witnessed the destruction of the largest synagogue in Vienna from their next door apartment complex. One month later, in December 1938, they were on the first Kindertransport to leave Vienna, but stayed in Holland, rather than England, for nearly a year in children’s institutions. They were scheduled to return to Vienna for physicals on September 5, 1939. War broke out four days earlier and they were able to board a ship to the US in October 1939 where they were shortly thereafter reunited with their parents, who managed to leave Vienna in November 1939 despite the ongoing war. Nearly two years of prejudice, trauma, separation, refuge and resilience left an indelible and life-long mark on Ruth.

Both Ruth and her brother have led interesting lives in the US.  Walter was a professor of biochemistry at Nassau Community College in Long Island for 50 years; Ruth is a featured speaker at the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City and has appeared with Padma Lakshmi on the Taste the Nation food docuseries Hanukkah special. Ruth believes that Holocaust education must reach younger and diverse communities and that the events she lived through must be remembered.