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Rita Yelgin

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Rita (Gurwitz) Yelgin, 88, of Brookline, Massachusetts, died on Monday, March 1, 2010 at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She was born in Slonim, Lithuania on June 21, 1921, daughter of the late Leon and Esther (Samsonowitz) Gurwitz. Mrs. Yelgin had been a resident of Brookline, MA since 1989, and previously lived in Malden, MA. She was the widow of Henry Yelgin. Mrs. Yelgin was a Holocaust survivor who escaped from the Grodno, Lithuania ghetto in February 1943 and lived in the Nacha forest for almost 2 years in a Jewish partisan resistance group. The group was led by her husband, Henry, who had smuggled 26 people out of the Grodno ghetto and had broken into the German arsenal to take the weapons which the partisan unit used for protection, food missions, and sabotage. Mrs. Yelgin's survival story is available on the Internet at: http://www.keene.edu/cchs/Rita_Yelgin.cfm. She also provided video testimony about her Holocaust experiences to Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Mrs. Yelgin was an active member of the Brookline Senior Center where she often had lunch with her many friends. She loved Yiddish literature and was also a member of the Brookline Yiddish Vinkl. She was a close friend of the Yiddish writer, Daniel Charney, who wrote about her life in his stories about "The Partisanke". Mrs. Yelgin's favorite past-times were reading and discussing history and politics. She read the Boston Globe every day from cover-to-cover as well as the Yiddish Forward newspaper. She enjoyed her independent life in Brookline and was often seen with her shopping cart roaming the aisles of Trader Joe's or Stop & Shop looking for that just right head of lettuce or cauliflower. She touched the lives of many people and they will miss her very much. Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Louis Yelgin and Sherry Nassauer of Merrimack, NH; her daughter and son-in-law, Esther and Ken Pittman of Cape Coral, FL; and three grandchildren (Allison, Brett, and Scott). A graveside service was held at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Danvers, MA. Memorial donations in Ritas name can be sent to: Temple Beth Abraham, 4 Raymond Street, Nashua, NH 03064.

Published in The Brookline Tab from Mar. 16 to Mar. 23, 2010
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