Lija Tunis (Lucy) Kalusin (1924 - 2018)

Obituary
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  • "When the great ones go they don't really go. The body wears..."
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  • "Mrs. Kalusin was one of the beautiful people. She was..."
    - Nelson Wenguer
  • "So saddened to hear the news of Lucy's passing. Although I..."
    - Sheldon Savitz

KALUSIN, LIJA (Lucy) TUNIS, 93, passed away peacefully on February 5, 2018. Lucy was a survivor of the Holocaust who spoke to countless Dade and Broward school children over the last 25 years. Born in 1924 in Lviv and raised in Warsaw, her privileged life was dramatically altered when she was 15 years old and the Germans invaded Poland. After surviving the war and it's atrocities, including losing almost her entire family in the Holocaust, she fled to Czechoslovakia where she lived for four years. When it turned Communist, she contacted an uncle living in Cuba and escaped to Havana where she met her husband, Enrique Kalusin, and began a family. Unfortunately, Cuba turned Communist and, once again, she was forced to flee and begin a new life in a new country, with a new language and customs. Lucy settled with her family in Miami where she helped her husband found the Cuban Hebrew Congregation and the B'nai B'rith Latin Lodge. Working together, they organized a Latin Auxiliary Lodge so that women could have equal rights as men - the first in the organization's history. After his death in 1975, she emerged from the shadows of her husband's legacy to create one of her own. Her first passion was always her family but she also became involved in many charities, especially La Liga Contra Cancer Flamingo Chapter, where she served as President for many years. Although Lucy had rarely spoken about her experiences during the war and the Holocaust, she began volunteering at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center. Having learned several languages, she first helped translate oral histories and later began speaking to local students about her own survival. Difficult as it was to relive the atrocities she endured, Lucy thought it was vitally important to teach the next generation and do her share to prevent this evil from ever happening again. She was proud of her work and felt gratified by the batches of letters she received from the children reinforcing the impact she was making on their lives. Everyone loved Lucy - her kindness, elegance, and grace under pressure. She was an amazing woman who led an incredible life. Fiercely independent, she drove a car until last year and lived on her own to the very end. Lucy leaves behind a family and friends who loved her dearly and a legacy that will be carried on through those whose lives she touched. She is survived by her children Eva Kalusin, Lawrence Kalusin, and Marilyn Kalusin Berens as well as six grandchildren Henry, Zachary, Adam, Oliver, Rachel, and Spencer. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in memory of Lucy be made to the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, www.hdec.org Funeral service 1:00 pm TODAY, February 6, at Blasberg-Rubin-Zilbert, 720 - 71 St., Miami Beach (305) 865-2353
Funeral Home
Blasberg-Rubin-Zilbert Mem. Chapels
720 71st St.
Miami Beach, FL 33141
305-865-2353
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Published in the Miami Herald on Feb. 6, 2018