Clara Rona
1920 - 2016
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Clara Rona, a beautiful lady, died peacefully in her sleep on January 30, 2016, at the age of 95.
Clara was born to Mary and Joseph Schlesanger in Pecs, Hungary on November 13, 1920. She was a much loved and somewhat spoiled only child. Her father owned a butcher shop which had been in the family for several generations. Her mother wanted her to be brought up as a lady, and so Clara took piano lessons and learned to play Chopin and Beethoven. She went to the symphony and to the ballet. What Clara really wanted to do was to go on to the gymnasium and to the university. She was very smart and wanted to study. But her family said "no". Girls didn't need to study.
Education continued to be the thing Clara most valued in life. She often remarked that money came and went but education stayed a part of you. Clara became a voracious reader and continued to be one until the end of her life.
In 1944 on March 17th, a Sunday, the Germans occupied Hungary. Clara pleaded with her father to go somewhere, but he said there was nowhere to go.
Then her whole world changed. Soldiers came to their home and packed up their belongings. The family was put in a stall with horses. She saw her father beaten. A week later they were put on a train - packed like sardines - 100 to a car. Her father's best friend, standing next to them died. Three days later they arrived in Auschwitz. Clara never saw her parents again. From Auschwitz Clara was taken to another concentration camp called Bergen-Belson. Clara was then taken to another place called Marclaben where she was forced by the Nazi's to work in an airplane factory. Clara's job was to carry coal.
On April 13, 1944, the Germans started to evacuate the camp. Clara and the rest of the prisoners were taken at night with no food or clothes (some had a blanket). They were ordered to line up to be counted. They walked, mostly at night. If people were unable to walk, they were shot. Clara was able to be with a family friend, Frieda and at one point when Clara had to go into the bushes, Frieda told her to stay there and not come out until everyone left. The two spent four nights on the road.
They came to a village. They went into a small house where a woman gave them food and clothes. The woman told them the war was over.
Clara and Frieda kept walking; there was chaos everywhere. They finally walked into a town with a chocolate factory. They were so starved for sweets Clara climbed into a barrel to get some chocolate. She got stuck and they had to break the barrel to get her out. But they were laughing because they were free.
They finally got to Budapest. There they found a Jewish organization where they were put in touch with people they had known. Clara went back to Pecs where there was a cousin of her father named Rosa.
Clara found out that her mother's brother who was a physician had gone to Israel. He was looking for her and brought her to Haifa. Her uncle found her a job cleaning offices after hours. Clara did go to school and learned Hebrew and became a business woman, making and selling sandwiches. She called her little business Clara Mesada.
They lived near a Hungarian quarter. Clara went to a party and met her future husband, Carl whom she fell in love with. He would play bridge, and she would sit next to him until finally he noticed her. They were married in Haifa in 1953 and lived there for two years. Later they moved to Montreal to be near family. Carl couldn't find a job in Montreal but was offered a wonderful opportunity in Toledo.
Clara and Carl remained very close to the family in Montreal. When her nephew, Ricky came here to school, she cooked for him, cleaned for him - he complained that she was too overprotective. But she loved him so much. Ricky and his brother, Tommy were the children she never had.
Carl's family considered Clara to be one of them and even when Carl passed away in 2007, continued to take care of her.
Clara was predeceased by her parents and her beloved Carl.
She is survived by her loving family, Andrew Liebmann (Annette), Richard Liebmann (Tamara), Maya Liebmann, Izabel Liebmann, Thomas Liebmann (Sheri), Jill Liebmann and Joey Liebmann, all of Montreal, Canada, and Szekely Andras of Budapest, Hungary.
Clara had many friends in Toledo, all of whom she considered her daughters and sons. She will be dearly missed.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Blade on Jan. 31, 2016.
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11 entries
April 11, 2016
Clara was a very wonderful, special person whom I have loved very much for a very long time. We met through my aunt. I'm Catholic and she would save her Catholic or priest/rabbi jokes for me and always made me feel very loved and special. I can't believe I didn't know about her death until now, but I don't get the newspaper. I hope someone will let me know about the memorial. I should be in her phone book. We talked about Heaven and now you'll know firsthand. God bless you, Clara. I love you and miss you.
Judy Clifton
March 3, 2016
I began to know Clara only months ago. Friendly, lovely lady.
Judy Gersz
February 8, 2016
Our condolences to the Rona family. Carl and Clara were good friends of my parents and they were a lovely couple who I enjoyed interacting with. May G-d give the family strength during this time of sorrow. Brent and Ricki Rubin and family
Brent Rubin
February 3, 2016
Clara was like family to me. She sat with my family on Rosh Hashanah the past few years. She was like a grandmother to me. Every time i saw her at temple she would grab my hand and tell me how beautiful I was and she would tell me to enjoy my youth while i still could. I'll miss her dearly.
Ilana Dolin
February 2, 2016
Mrs. Rona always treated my children like they were her own and continued to love them even when they became adults. We always loved her for that. She was a sweet lady and we will miss her. Joanie and Larry Kripke
February 2, 2016
Mrs. Rona was a wonderful lady, I remember her from my preschool days at the Jewish Community Center. Prayers to the family... rest in peace Mrs Rona.
Helen Montalto
February 2, 2016
Clara was a lovely lady. I enjoyed working with her at the Nursery School from 1967 thru 1973. She had so much love for the children in her classes.
Eileen Kobee
February 2, 2016
Clara Rona treated all of her children at the JCC as her own. When she would see me she would tell me how wonderful my children were just like a proud Grandma.
Rona Rothschild
February 1, 2016
Clara was like a grandmother to me. I talked with her every saturday at B'nai Israel. She always told me I was beautiful.
Hannah Kramer
February 1, 2016
Clara was a lovely person and a wonderful friend. Nancy May
February 1, 2016
She'll be missed tremendously! The Zaurov family
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