EASTHAMPTON - Ursula Zadik, 95, died Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.
She was a teenage resistance fighter, businesswoman, terrific mother, great friend to many, and an unbeatable scrabble player. Ursula was an extraordinary woman.
Born in Breslau, Germany, to Adolph and Elsa (Juncker) Beyer, Ursula was a Holocaust survivor. As teenagers, she and her younger sister Helga were part of the resistance movement, smuggling anti-Hitler newspapers into Germany from Czechoslovakia. Both were caught and jailed. Ursula was released from prison after a "trial" and months of solitary confinement. She managed to get her husband Erwin out of the Buchenwald concentration camp, where he had been sent after being picked up by the Gestapo Nov. 9, 1938, during "Kristallnacht," an anti-Jewish pogrom that took place throughout Germany. Helga was never released and was murdered in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. A song called "Flying about Ursula and Helga", composed by her daughter-in-law Laura Wetzler, can be found on the internet.
Ursula and her husband Erwin, who died in 2006, were married in September 1938 and managed to escape Nazi Germany in February 1939 to the Jewish refugee ghetto in Shanghai, were Erwin worked in a soup kitchen and Ursula later worked as a secretary for the U.S. Army. As "stateless" citizens, they were stuck in Shanghai for eight years before being allowed into the United States. They joined Ursula's father and step-mother Emma in New York City, where they rebuilt their lives in a community of German Jewish World War II refugees. Ursula's parents started a handcrafted lampshade business in their apartment. Ursula and Erwin worked with them and eventually took it over. Ursula was a great businesswoman and bookkeeper while Erwin handled sales and fabrication. After retirement they continued to live in New York until moving to Massachusetts in 2003 to be closer to their daughter.
Ursula was a remarkable, compassionate survivor who chose to honor her sister Helga's memory by supporting social justice causes and delighting in the beauty of life.
She poured her loving energy into her only child Madelaine Zadik. Ursula was the most supportive, devoted mother that anyone could ever wish for. She was a brilliant, strong, determined and hardworking woman, who was always there for her family and friends.
She loved traveling and was always up for an adventure, sharing many fun times with those she loved.
Ursula enjoyed 10 wonderful, fun years at the Lathrop Community in Easthampton, the last five years with help from her dear companions and caregivers Lynn Ayala, Bonnie Waite and Bonnie Young, as well as her good friend Jean Frances. Many thanks to the fantastic staff at the Lathrop Community, Linda Manor, and VNA and Hospice of Cooley Dickenson for their many kindnesses.
Ursula is survived by her daughter Madelaine Zadik and daughter-in-law Laura Wetzler, her nieces and nephews in the Perrone and Johansson families, Vivian Goldberg Pollack and her husband David and their daughter Alex, her half-sister Barbara, and all her many friends.
Please remember Ursula by taking delight in the beauty of the world.
Donations in her memory may be made to an environmental or social justice organization of your choice.
To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 17, 2013
Pease Gay Funeral Home
425 Prospect Street Northampton, MA 01060