with. Herta and Eugene reunited in the
street on the way to pick up their boys.
They came to America in 1940 on
board the Volendam. Midway across
the Atlantic, Germany invaded Holland. Traveling
Special to the Jewish News
on board a Dutch ship, they were in constant fear
Herta Orbach, 101, of West Bloomfield, died Feb. 12,
Arriving in Hoboken, N.J., Herta's two boys changed
2004. The following tribute is written by her
their names. Guenther became Jerry and Helmut
became Harold. It was the beginning of
their new life in America.
t was the spring of 1939.
Joining them was Herta's
Herta Orbach, stood on the
only brother, Henry. The
platform at the train station in
rest of her family — par-
Duesseldorf, Germany. She
ents, uncles, aunts, cousins
was saying goodbye to her children,
usT — were all killed in the
Helmut, 8 and Guenther, 11.
In an attempt to save her children's
Herta and Eugene
lives, Herta was sending them on the
Orbach found their way in the new
Kindertransport to an orphanage in
country. They settled in New York and
England —not knowing if she'd ever
raised their boys. Herta cleaned houses
see her boys again.
and worked as a nanny, struggling to
Life in the only country she knew
learn English. Eugene got work as a
had turned upside-down. On
plumber in a large smelting plant. But
"Kristallnacht," Nov. 9, 1938, her
through the years worked his way up
upscale home near the Rhine River
to plant manager.
had been ransacked. Her husband, Eugene, was
They had a good, long life in this country They
arrested and transported to Dachau concentration
were married for 76 years. Their son Jerry would
camp. It became her mission to keep her boys alive
grow up to become vice-president of American
and find a way to save her husband.
Philips. Their son Harold would grow up to serve as
She was able to secure his release by paying off
the cantor of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield for 40
the Gestapo. With the help of a Jewish attorney in
years. Herta couldn't sing a note. She always claimed
Stuttgart, she paid 50 marks — what was then a
to have given up her voice so her son could sing.
king's ransom. It worked. Eugene was released and
Having lost so much family in Germany, she
given 24 hours to leave Germany.
cherished the family that came with her new life in
Eager to get out of Germany herself, and find her America. She had six grandchildren and nine great-
boys, Herta fled to England, where she worked as a
maid for a couple she and Eugene had vacationed
She loved a good game of cards. She played
`Is It Not Amazing?'
The Upbeat Rep
Special to the Jewish News
n early 1997, Irving Flanders contracted
lymphoma and suffered a stroke to add to
his already painful arthritis, but he vowed
not to let the ailments get him down — and
six months later he was back at work and on the
For seven years, he kept snapping back from
relapses with an "upbeat" attitude, telling and
retelling his patented story jokes to anyone who
would listen. When asked how he felt, he would
answer: "I don't have a complaint in the carload."
Mr. Flanders, 79, of Southfield, who had a great
sense of humor and liked to boast he was probably
the oldest person nicknamed "Skippy," succumbed
to the cancer on Feb. 16, 2004.
He was a real fighter who battled all of the
obstacles that came his way," said his daughter,
Audrey Sundstrom of Grand Rapids. He was suc-
cessful in everything he did, building up three
bridge every day until she was 97. She believed that
bridge kept her mind young. She exercised every
day. She did yoga and later tried tai chi. And she
always found humor, even in the darkest moments.
Ten years ago, when doctors told her she had a
large tumor in her colon, the family was concerned.
But when I called to console her she had only this
to say in her deep German accent: "Did you hear?
Za doctor says I have za body of a 60-year-old." She
was already 91.
Imagine living 101 years. She had witnessed the
advent of electricity, the car, the telephone, air-
planes, the computer. And yet, what really
impressed her were the wonders of life. "Is it not
amazing," she used to say to me, "that each spring
the flowers burst from the earth, year after year. Is it
Herta Orbach is survived by her son and daugh-
ter-in-law, Cantor Harold and Evelyn Orbach of
West Bloomfield; daughter-in-law, Pearl Orbach;
grandchildren, Dr. Susan Orbach Zirulnik and
Gary Zirulnik, Marlene and Chris Olson, Richard
Orbach; Sharon and Howard Quarters, Judy
Orbach-Chamberlain and Paul Chamberlain, Lila
and Jeff Lazarus and great-grandchildren, Ari and
Elliot Zirulnik, Raz, Roey and Emily Orbach,
Jessica Renick, Kalil. and Tessa Chamberlain.
Mrs. Orbach was the beloved wife of the late
Eugene Orbach, the devoted mother of the late
Gerald Orbach and the loving great-grandmother of
the late Keffy Orbach.
Interment was at Beth El Memorial Park.
Contributions may be made to the Keffy Orbach
Family Concert Fund, do Temple Israel or to JET
Theatre. Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel. ❑
Lila Lazarus, a WDIV-Channel 4 anchor and health
reporter, is a resident of Commerce Township.
businesses from nothing at different stages of his
swing and azz
jazz bands and singers. Only a few
weeks before his death, he managed to leave the
He was a brave, caring, fun-loving person, who hospital briefly to attend a Benny Goodman trib-
just loved to help people and have a goad time,"
said Gloria Flanders, his wife of 51
Mr. Flanders was the first com-
mander of the - former Kogan 510
As a youngster growing up in
Jewish War. Veterans Post, a 32nd
Detroit, his first job was delivering
degree Mason, a Shriner and a mem
take-out food in a small wagon from
ber of Congregation Shaarey Zedek
a Chinese restaurant. After serving in
for over 40 years.
the Army Air Force in the Pacific
He is survived by his wife, Gloria;
theater, Mr. Flanders owned the
son, David Flanders of Kentwood,
popular Skippy's Hot Rod Shop in
Mich.; daughter and son-in-law,
Detroit before becoming a successful
Audrey and Gregory Sun.dstrorn of
automotive electronics representa-
Grand Rapids; grandchildren,
tive. He was an electronics gadget
Courtney and Ben Sundstrorn; broth-
buff who delighted in giving gifts
ers-in-law and sister-in-law, Edwin
and mementos to friends.
and Aden Gittleman, and Sid Lafer.
He switched careers at age 65 and
He was the brother-in-law of the
Irving Fland ers
became an equally successful golf
late Joyce Lafer.
equipment rep, earning salesman of
Interment was at Clover Hill Park
the year honors several times from leading manu-
Cemetery. Contributions may be made to Leukemia
and Lymphoma Society of Michigan, 1421 E. 12
Mr. Flanders also was an expert on the big band
Mile, Building A, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
music era, owning hundreds of videos and tapes of
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel.