- Adele Zygielbaum December 15, 1924 - October 9, 2009 Adele Zygielbaum was born in the small Polish town of Slawkow, on December 15, 1924. A bright and athleticMessage 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2009View Source
December 15, 1924 - October 9, 2009
Adele Zygielbaum was born in the small Polish town of Slawkow , on December 15, 1924. A bright and athletic student, she enjoyed school and was devoted to her family. Her father, Israel , was the town engineer and ran the local power plant. Her mother, Rachel, doted over Adele, her younger sister Rose, older brother Motek, and older sister Esther. Motek was away at college when the Nazis and Soviets invaded Poland in September of 1939. He was captured by the Soviets and sent to Siberia , never to be heard from again. The Nazis occupying Slawkow sent Esther to a concentration camp in 1940. On June 11, 1942, the remainder of Adele's family was destroyed when the Nazis forced all the town's Jews to the town square, killed many, and sent the rest to concentration and slave labor camps. That was the last time Adele saw her parents and Rose. Their fate, where and how they died, is not known. Adele was deported to a series of slave labor camps. Her father had
taught her to weld and, as a result, she had a skill that was valued by her captors. Adele told many stories of committing sabotage by learning to make defective welds that looked perfect, and by overfilling ammunition shells with explosive powder. She often stood up brazenly to her guards and protected other prisoners. Adele endured 3 years of abusive treatment until being liberated from the concentration camp at Goerlitz , Germany , in 1945. Shortly after, she was reunited with her sister, Esther, near Slawkow. She met Joseph Zygielbaum, an engineer and partisan leader, in Wroclaw , Poland , in September of that year, and they were married that December. Joe and Adele immigrated to the United States in November of 1946. After attempting unsuccessfully to make a living in New York , they moved to Southern California the next year. Adele was a homemaker and worked part-time in a bakery. She supported Joe as his career advanced from machinist to foreign
technology analyst and translator who was active in the US space program. As that program declined in the late 1960s, they purchased and operated a bakery in Pacific Palisades, CA, until their retirement in 1978. Joe passed away in 1995, and Adele moved to Santa Rosa , CA , in 1999.
A charter resident of the Brighton Gardens assisted living facility in Santa Rosa , Adele was beloved as a storyteller, as a "mom" to many people, and as a leader whenever something needed improvement. She put great effort into making friends, and she was dedicated to telling the story of the Holocaust. Her advice was never to forget what happened, to tell the story so that it will never happen again, to remember the people that we've lost, to honor those who were not privileged to have their own graves, and to understand that we are not responsible for our births but are responsible for our own conduct. Adele had a wonderful way with all animals and often was able to train wild birds to come to her. She always loved butterflies. Her room and clothes were adorned with butterfly pins and pictures. She found it magical when a butterfly landed on her hand or on a nearby flower. Adele said that she never saw any butterflies while in the concentration camps.
She would look at the electrified barbed wire fence and wish that she could turn into a butterfly and fly away.
At 9:30 in the morning on October 9, 2009, the butterfly was at last set free. Adele passed away gently in her sleep.
Adele is survived by her sister, Esther ( Toronto , Canada ), her son Arthur and daughter-in- law Christine ( Lincoln , NE ), and their children Debra (spouse Kerrigan) and David; her son Paul and daughter-in- law Michelle ( Santa Rosa , CA ), and their children Samuel, Beth (Jason), and Joshua (Tammie), and great-grandchildren Ava and Jonah.
Services and interment will be held in the Court of David at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills , CA , at 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, October 13. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, October 23 at 3:00pm at Brighton Gardens , 300 Fountain Grove Parkway , Santa Rosa , CA .
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages gifts in Adele's honor to the SSU Foundation, designated to - The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Adele Zygielbaum Memorial Fund, (Sonoma State University Development, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Stevenson Hall Room 1054, Rohnert Park, CA 94928); Hallberg Butterfly Gardens, 8687 Oak Grove Ave., Sebastopol, California 95472; and/or Adele Zygielbaum Butterfly Fund, Lincoln Children's Zoo, 1222 S. 27 St., Lincoln, NE 68512
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