Sandra Samuel, Righteous Among the Nations

Sandra Samuel, Righteous Among the Nations

Sandra Samuel landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport yesterday with toddler Moshe Holtzberg and the child’s grandparents. The plane also carried the bodies of Moshe’s parents and four other victims of the terrorist attacks on the Chabad House in Mumbai.

Ms. Samuel, 44, was an employee of Chabad House. Her duties included caring for Moshe and cooking under the supervision of Rabbis Leibish Teitelbaum and Bentzion Kruman, who were killed in the attack. Until a few days ago, the Indian citizen had never owned a passport.

When the attack began last Wednesday, Sandra Samuel heard explosions and gunshots on an upper floor of Nariman House (Rohr Chabad House) and locked herself and fellow employee Zaki Hussein in a downstairs utility room. Later, she heard Moshe screaming, ran upstairs, eluded roaming gunmen, found the child beside the bodies of his parents, carried him downstairs, and brought Moshe to safety late Thursday morning.  Mr. Hussein helped Ms. Samuel conceal Moshe as the three exited Nariman House. Moshe Holtzberg’s second birthday was Saturday.

Sandra Samuel continues to help care for Moshe Holtzberg in Israel. Her emigration from India was expedited when the Israeli government declared her one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.” This honor is usually rendered in English with the awkward phrase “Righteous Gentile,” losing something in translation.

Recipients of this honor, awarded by a special commission headed by a Supreme Court Justice, include Oskar and Emilie Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg, and Corrie ten Boom. 22,000 people and groups have received this title, most for risking their lives to save others during the Holocaust. It appears that Sandra Samuel is the first citizen of India to be so honored.

Moshe’s parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, will be buried in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives Cemetery today.

One Response to “Sandra Samuel, Righteous Among the Nations”

  1. Ivan Says:

    Women like this are hard to find. I, for one, would want a to be with Sandra forever, because of her true woman’s heart. Bless you, Lady, and the Israeli Govt for recognizing instantly the value and worth of a real hero.

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