Holocaust Survivor Dies in Catskills Flooding Spawned by Irene

Good Samaritan Also Dies Saving Boy From Downed Wires

Damage Left Behind: Hurricane Irene was gone, but left massive damage behind in upstate New York. Many Jewish communities and vacation spots were hit particularly hard.
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Damage Left Behind: Hurricane Irene was gone, but left massive damage behind in upstate New York. Many Jewish communities and vacation spots were hit particularly hard.

By Forward Staff With JTA

Published August 29, 2011.

A Brooklyn woman was killed when floodwaters spawned by Hurricane Irene washed away a motel in the Catskills.

Rozalia Gluck, 82, was trapped in the Valkyrian Motel in Fleischmann’s, New York, approximately 140 miles north of New York City, when the motel was uprooted and swept away by torrential water, JTA reported.

On-lookers could hear Gluck’s cries for help until around 3:30 pm Sunday, when the cries faded.

Gluck was found dead by the fire departments from neighboring Broome County some hours later, reported Yeshiva World.

The motel guests, including Gluck’s husband, had been evacuated earlier in the morning. It was not immediately apparent why she did not leave as well.

Isaac Abraham, a Brooklyn Hasidic community leader, told the New York Daily News that Gluck, a grandmother from Williamsburg, was born in Russia and survived the Holocaust. “She survived Hitler, but she couldn’t survive Irene,” Abraham told the paper.

Chanie Epstein, 25, who grew up in Gluck-Stern’s building, described her as a “righteous woman.”

Meanwhile, a Good Samaritan in suburban New York was killed when he tried to rescue a 5-year-old boy from downed power lines as Hurricane Irene moved away, authorities told news outlets.

A man identified as David M. Reichenberg, 50, an Orthodox Jew and father of four, tried to help the boy after he grabbed a live power line in their flooded street in the town of Spring Valley, the New York Daily News reported.

He suffered critical burns and died on the spot, the paper said.

The injured boy, identified as Reuven Herbst, was in critical but stable condition at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, authorities told the paper. The boy’s father, who also tried to help, suffered burns as well and was hospitalized.

Witnesses said they had to watch helplessly because they couldn’t get near the stricken man who was stuck in water with live wires nearby.

“We were just praying, ‘God help this man,’” Moishe Lichtenstein, 22, told the paper.

Authorities said they struggled to keep up with flooding and downed wires from the fierce storm that lashed this heavily Orthodox community about an hour north of New York City.

“This was a night and day in hell,” Gordon Wren Jr., Rockland County’s director of fire and emergency services told the Journal-News newspaper. “We’re pretty upset with the fatality.”

Millions lost power and dozens were killed up and down the East Coast as Hurricane Irene plowed through. Even though its winds weakened, the storm dumped up to a foot of rain in the New York area, overwhelming rivers and streams.



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