Klara Ilona Swimmer Klara Ilona Swimmer died quietly at her home in Tucson in the early morning hours of July 18, 2013. Dr. Swimmer was a retired physician and Holocaust survivor who led a quiet, dignified and often joyous life of service to her patients and her community, with a profound and loving commitment to her family and her friends. After retirement she became outspoken in her commitment for peace in the world, for human dignity and rights, for medical, scientific and technological advances that would serve both humanity and the planet. She was especially interested in renewable energy efforts, particularly solar energy as the logical way to solve the challenges facing us and the environment. Dr. Swimmer devoted a great deal of her time to addressing the matter of keeping the remembrance of the Holocaust vital and in the present, fighting the forces of diminution and distortion that are so powerful. Her belief is that deep reflection on this monumental horror is required, if we wish to honor the many millions slaughtered and if society is to move forward with some hope of constructively reducing its worst tendencies. Born in a small town in Hungary, Dr. Swimmer was raised in an innocence that allowed her love of people, of life and her wide ranging intellectual curiosity to flourish. She met her husband, George at as a teenager and they married in May of 1944 on the steps of the then locked synagogue. Soon thereafter she, along with her mother, her in-laws and thousands of other Hungarian Jews, was put on a train and taken to Auschwitz. Her father had been taken away much earlier and her husband, George, was taken to forced labor. Upon arrival in Auschwitz, her parents and in-laws were immediately taken to the gas chambers and she was soon sent with many other Hungarian young women to Kaunitz-Lippstat as a slave laborer. Surviving this experience and typhus, thanks to medicines likely provided by American liberators, she was able to return to Hungary and find her husband who had escaped force labor. They were then able to attend medical school, surviving thanks to the assistance of American relatives who had somehow discovered their presence after the war. In 1956, along with many others, they chose to leave during the Hungarian Revolution as refugees. They along with their young son made their way to Israel for a number of years and from there they restarted life in New York with the support of those same relatives. Dr. Swimmer redid her medical training and became an internist, later focusing on geriatrics for many years. In 1983 she relocated to Tucson, Arizona due to health needs of her husband. They made a productive life in the southwest and she practiced medicine for a number of years before her husband's illness demanded her full-time attention. She spoke regularly at schools, military bases and other organizations on the topic of the Holocaust. Her last presentation was to the Maimonides Society and others at UMC in connection with the exhibit Deadly Medicine, organized by USHMM. She was a member of a number of medical, Jewish and community organizations. Her ceramics gave her great joy late in life. Dr. Swimmer was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. George Swimmer. She is survived by her son, Gary, his wife, Karen and Klara's beloved grandson, Isaac. Graveside Funeral Services will be held in the Congregation Anshei Israel section of Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Donations may be sent to the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Congregation Anshei Israel,
or any responsible local or national charitable organization. Arrangements by EVERGREEN MORTUARY & CEMETERY, N. Oracle & W. Miracle Mile. www.evergreenmortuary-cemetery.com
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Evergreen Mortuary Cemetery Crematory
3015 North Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85705
Published in the Arizona Daily Star on July 20, 2013