Pride and perseverance: “”She was a hero,” Hoffman said of his great-grandmother, as tears streamed down his face. “People ask me today: ‘What are you?’ I say, ‘I’m a Jew…’ I’m a Jew.” • No matter where a Jew ends up, his or her ‘Pintele Yid’, Jewish essence, remains intact. Not often does it so evidently surface as can be seen in this recent clip of a famous American actor • Full Story, Video
Excerpted from the Algemeiner
Famed actor Dustin Hoffman was reduced to tears on Tuesday after learning that his great-grandmother had escaped a Soviet concentration camp before starting a life for herself in America.
The Oscar-winning star, who is Jewish, found out about his great-grandmother, Libba, on the season finale of Finding Your Roots, a PBS show in which celebrities scour ancestral records to learn about their family’s history. The show revealed that Libba had been taken from her home in Ukraine to a Russian camp when the Bolsheviks targeted Jews after the outbreak of the Russian civil war in 1917. She was 53 when she entered the camp, where she remained for five years. Both her husband and son were killed by the Soviet state security force, the Cheka.
Along with many other Jews fleeing Eastern Europe, she made her way to Argentina, and ultimately to America.
Looking at his great-grandmother’s medical records from Ellis Island, Hoffman, 78, discovered that Libba had entered the US in 1930 at age 62. The records show that her left arm had been amputated, she suffered from poor vision and was described as senile. Libba settled with family in Chicago, where she remained until she died in 1944 at the age of 76.
The episode also highlighted Hoffman’s Jewish heritage, which his parents kept a secret.
“She was a hero,” Hoffman said of his great-grandmother, as tears streamed down his face. “People ask me today: ‘What are you?’ I say, ‘I’m a Jew…’ I’m a Jew. They all survived for me to be here.