Last week, in a ceremony in New York City, B'nai B'rith International recognized Berta Davidovitz Rubinsztejn for her heroic actions halfway around the globe and a lifetime ago, honoring her with the Jewish Rescuers Citation.
During the time of Nazi occupation in Budapest, Rubinsztejn, only in her early 20's at the time, became a hero and mother for Jewish children that would have otherwise perished in the Holocaust.
Rubinsztejn believes her selfless actions were common sense. Meir Brand, one of the children she rescued, attended the ceremony and had a much different perspective.
“I am standing here only because of you, Berta,” Brand told Rubinsztejn and the gathered attendees.
Read more about the event, as covered in articles in New York Daily News, Bronx News 12 and VIN News:
“I was the only survivor of my whole family,” [Meir] added.
Rubinsztejn — now a great-grandmother who has called the Bronx home for 55 years — was given the Jewish Rescuers Citation by B'Nai B'Rith at Thursday’s event.
“What I did is what everybody should do,” Rubinsztejn said of her courageous work.
“Give children your love and the world grows up a better place.”
Brand lived on the streets of Budapest alone for almost a year before Rubinsztejn found him and took him in.
One month later, Rubinsztejn and Brand were on a train headed for Spain in a deal made with the Nazis by journalist Rudolf Kasztner to provide safety to Jews leaving Hungary in exchange for trucks.
After spending months at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the pair were sent to Switzerland, then Israel.
Brand made his home in Israel, while Rubinsztejn has lived in the Bronx for 55 years.