Clara Schwarz Kramer, 91, a longtime resident of Elizabeth, died Sept. 11, 2018. Born in Zolkiew, Poland, when the Germans invaded her town in 1942, 18 people, including Clara and her family, went into hiding in a crawl space they dug under one of their homes. They were hidden underground for almost two years by Valentin Beck and his family. While in hiding, Clara kept a diary, which is now in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
After the war, she met her husband Sol in a Displaced Persons camps in Austria and they were married in 1949. They made aliyah to Israel, where their children Philip and Eli were born. They came to America in 1957 and settled in Elizabeth in 1965. Drawn to Elizabeth by its community of Holocaust survivors, they immediately became active members of that community.
The Kramers were active in numerous causes and communal organizations and took leadership roles in the Jewish Educational Center, Elizabeth; the former Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey; State of Israel Bonds; YM-YWHA of Union County, Union; Jewish Family Service of Central NJ; Central NJ Jewish Home for the Aged; and Trinitas Regional Healthcare
With a small group of survivors, she co-founded the Holocaust Resource Center at Kean University, which provided training on Holocaust education to thousands of teachers.
In her 80s, she, together with co-author Stephen Glantz, wrote “Clara’s War,” a memoir of her wartime experience hiding from the Nazis. The book was published in over a dozen languages on five different continents.
Predeceased by a sister, Manya, who was killed by the Nazis, and her husband of 62 years, she is survived by two sons, Philip (Drora) and Eli (Randi); a brother, Alex Orli; a sister, Naomi (Metukah) Kornberg; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Services were held Sept. 12 with arrangements by Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel, Livingston. Memorial contributions may be made to Kean’s Holocaust Resource Foundation.