Gina Zuckerman, the nonagenarian Greenwich Village resident and Holocaust survivor who fought off a mugger in September, has been getting some recognition for her courage. This month she has been awarded a proclamation by the state of New York and received a letter from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, reported the news site DNAInfo.
“I was so sorry to hear about your recent brush with a purse-snatcher, but heartened to know that you held your own and are doing well… You are indeed a fighter,” Clinton wrote in the letter, which her campaign verified.
“Your life story is an inspiration. In many ways, you remind me of my mother, and your tenacity and optimism bring a smile to my face,” she added, referencing Zuckerman’s past working as a forced laborer in a Nazi factory, and then making it in the hard-charging world of Madison Avenue’s ad industry. Zuckerman has made public her support for the Democratic nominee.
Zuckerman also received the state proclamation from her local senator Brad Hoylman at the senior center where she volunteers at lunchtime, the place where she was headed when the mugging took place last month. “This was the most wonderful day of my life,” she said, when she received the plaque, which praised her for “bravery in standing her ground.”
Back in September, an attacker snuck up from behind on her as she was standing on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street. Zukerman resisted the assailant, and told the New York Post, “I just screamed and held onto my bag… I could not possibly let this woman get away with this.”
During the scuffle, Zuckerman’s assailant pretended to bystanders that she was the woman’s home health aide, but was given away by the fact that she had sunk her nails into her victim’s right arm, leaving the elderly woman bleeding. Zuckerman was sent to the hospital, where she received five stitches.
Still, Zuckerman was unflinching about her actions. “She should not come and look for anything [more] in our neighborhood,” she said to the Post. “She should not come with the intentions to attack old ladies, because the old ladies will not let her come close to them.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.