Elizabeth Roth, Survivor                                                

Isidore "Izzy" Randel, Survivor

By Harry Furman:

from the SJHC Facebook Page:        South Jersey Holocaust Coalition

In light of what has happened in the last part of 2023, I posted the following on the Coalition Facebook Page on Sunday morning.

For each of us, we knew the day would come.

We grew up in the shadow of Survivors who made their way from mass murder in Europe to the poultry farms and small businesses that dotted across the small town of Vineland, New Jersey and the surrounding community.

In our own early years, they too were young men and women who carried a terrible history and yet were resolved to reinvent their lives and create a better path for their children.

As public awareness of what they experienced grew in the 1970s, their stories of how they survived emerged from the ashes that smoldered in their souls.

Those folks who came from Europe had much to teach us about the choices that people made - for the very good or for the very bad and for us to be mindful that what each of us says or does matters.

Just as important, those Survivors taught us about resilience- about the will to go through the worst of times and yet determine to look to the future even while remembering the lessons of history.

But we knew the day would come.

For some of us, that day happened many years ago when a father or mother passed suddenly.

But it was going to happen. And so this very tight knit community of Survivors in Vineland and elsewhere has seen the slow but relentless taking of Survivors - one by one.

This last week of December has been no exception. The community mourns the loss of Isidore Randel and Elizabeth Roth, who passed this last week. Their passing leaves a very small number of Survivors in a community that was filled with the vibrancy of such persons in the 1950s.

Mr Randel was 99 at the time of his passing. I admired his soft-spoken strength, his quiet desire to do it his way. Although he was known affectionately as "Izzy", he still commanded the authority of a Mr. Randel. I can still remember his asking me on multiple occasions who was the best candidate to vote for (and he would vote) and from someone I respected very much, I was encouraged by his support of what we tried to do.

Elizabeth Roth was 97 at the time of her passing. She and her husband Sam came first to Millville and then to Vineland. She was a strong woman who was not afraid to say what she thought and in every way, was the generous and giving matriarch of a family that rose from the farm on which they toiled to business success. In later years, I admired her willingness to tell her story to students - a story that was woven into a play for the public.

The stories of Izzy Randel and Elizabeth Roth will be left to all of us - with a profound responsibility to carry on - into the future.

In their own way, they have helped create a path that we are obliged to tread.

We knew this day would come.

And despite all the very distressing news we see every day, their resilience commands us to believe that their stories, their history, will never pass- and that we too can make a difference.

When asked by a student, "Do you still feel hatred?"

Mrs. Roth answered, "No. No."

1.2.2024 lg