We are saddened to announce that Klara Vinokur has passed away.
Klara came from the city of Shpola. From 1941-2 the Nazis came in and destroyed the Jewish population. Klara was about 13 years old and was sent to a forced labor camp. Her younger brother, Gregory, was murdered in Shpola. She worked until she became ill. She was sent to the infirmary (with no medicine or treatment). After a week she and 19 others were taken out of the camp to the nearby woods where 2 pits had been dug (10 Jews for each pit). Somehow she instinctively dove into some bushes just as the firing squad began to fire and simultaneously it began to rain. She survived. She went back to Shpola and hid until the Soviet forced liberated the city. She took soil from the pit she was scheduled to be killed in and kept that soil next to her bed the rest of her life.
Afterwards, became a teacher and taught in Kiev. She provided leadership in the building of a monument Kiev to the victims of the Babi Yar massacres. A second monument was built which better represented the truth of the Babi Yar massacre.
Eventually she came to the United States. Here she helped with establishing a memorial to the victims of the Babi Yar massacre (located in Montefiore Cemetery). She organized annual remembrance ceremonies at Montefiore, carefully supervising each detail for the ceremonies. A few years ago she passed on leadership for the Babi Yar memorial ceremony but continued to participate in each program.
In 2001 she became an active member of the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center when it returned to Philadelphia. She talked to groups. She helped to set up displays in our showcases. She helped to translate material from Russian into English. She was, also, a member of our board for all these years.