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Thea Aschkenase

1923 - 2019
Thea Aschkenase Obituary
Thea Aschkenase, 95

Worcester - Thea (Obarzanek) Aschkenase, 95, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 23, 2019 under the loving care of her family and the compassionate staff at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in Wisconsin. Thea was born in Munich Germany and lived there with her parents, Samuel and Adele Obarzanek, and her younger brother Emanuel. In the late 1930's, because of the rise of the Nazis, the family was forced to move to Italy, where they remained in hiding for over 4 years.

The family was eventually discovered and transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Upon arrival at Auschwitz, the SS officer Josef Mengele put each member of Thea's family into separate lines. Thea pulled her mother to her line, thereby saving her mother from dying in the crematorium. The other members of her family did not survive.

Thea and her mother were liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945, and eventually made their way to Palestine. She met and married her husband Efraim in 1948. In 1954, after emigrating to the US, Thea and her family settled in Worcester, MA.

Thea was a tender, caring and passionate daughter, wife and mother and a loving and doting grandmother. She created a warm and happy home and put her children first. She was a loyal, caring and devoted friend. Thea always made time for her family and friends, even at the very end of her life.

Thea's life mission was to be a voice of remembrance of the Holocaust. She spent the past two decades giving talks to school children in the Worcester area public schools, telling them about her experiences. She published her memoir at age 92: Remembering: A Holocaust Survivor Shares her Life.

She also made it her mission to help others. As part of her connection with the Intergenerational Urban Institute at Worcester State University, from which she graduated with a degree in Urban Studies in her early 80s, Thea volunteered to help hungry children and adults gain access to nutritious food. In recognition of all of her work to feed the hungry, Worcester State University's recently opened pantry was named "Thea's Pantry".

Thea is survived by her loving children Lea and her husband, Tom of Madison, Wisconsin and Steven and his fiancée, Jill of Chicago, IL, and her adoring grandchildren, Therese, Alexis and Anders.

Thea touched so many lives, and she will live in our hearts forever.

A funeral service will be held at 10 am on Sunday, March 31, at Miles Funeral Home, 1158 Main St., Holden under the direction of Richard Perlman. Burial will follow at B'nai Birth cemetery in Worcester. Memorial contributions can be made to: www.Food4TI.org (a nonprofit developed in Thea's honor to feed low income Madison WI students and their families) or Thea's Pantry at Worcester State University (checks made payable to Worcester State Foundation), University Advancement, 486 Chandler St., Worcester, MA 01602.

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Mar. 27 to Mar. 28, 2019
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