Woman Who Survived Several Concentration Camps During the Holocaust Dies From Coronavirus in New Jersey

A woman who survived Auschwitz and other concentration camps during the Holocaust has died after contracting coronavirus.

Margit Buchhalter Feldman, who lived in New Jersey and educated children about World War Two, was two months away from celebrating her 91st birthday, Governor Phil Murphy told NBC.

Feldman, a grandmother, passed away on April 14. Her husband Harvey Feldman, whom she married in 1953, is still in hospital with COVID-19.

She was born on June 12, 1929, and raised in Tolcsva, Hungary. She was taken to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz when she was 15 with her parents, who were killed immediately.

Feldman managed to save herself by lying and saying she was 18. She was placed on forced labor detail.

Against the odds, Feldman survived Auschwitz and a succession of other camps and was liberated at age 16 from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

She emigrated to the U.S. in 1947 and became an X-ray technician. She married Harvey Feldman and raised two children in Bound Brook, New Jersey, eventually becoming a grandmother of three.

The railway tracks leading to the main gates at Auschwitz II - Birkenau Scott Barbour/Getty

"Extremely committed to community service and education, Margit accepted leadership roles in many local Jewish, family, and educational organizations," her obituary read.

"She was a cofounder of Raritan Valley Community College Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and served on the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education for more than 40 years.

It continued: "Margit devoted her life to telling her inspiring story and touched the hearts of thousands of students and educators. In 1994 Margit helped pass a bill in the New Jersey State Legislature that mandates a Holocaust and genocide curriculum in the public school system.

"She is survived and dearly missed by her husband Harvey, daughter Tina Feldman, son Dr. Joseph Feldman and wife Julie, grandchildren Caryn, Joshua, Zachary, and cousin William Boehm."

Feldman also wrote a book about her experiences called Margit: A Teenager's Journey Through the Holocaust and Beyond, which was published in 2003.

Feldman is due to be buried 75 years and two days after she was liberated.

There are now more than 670,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the U.S. and 34,784 have died.

President Donald Trump has released guidelines to states for rolling back quarantine measures amid the new coronavirus pandemic but said the situation in each state will dictate when and how it reopens.

He has been criticized for pushing to reopen businesses to save the economy at the expense of public health.

"We are in the next front of our war which we are calling, 'Opening Up America Again,'" Trump said on Thursday. "As I have said for some time now, a national shutdown is not a sustainable longtime solution. To preserve the health of our citizens we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.

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