Hitler Was Their Matchmaker

Five Holocaust survivors, all of whom met their spouses at displaced persons camps, will tell their stories on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus, 901 Rt. 10 East, Whippany.

Come hear the unbelievable story of Montclair resident Gina Lanceter, who escaped an almost inevitable death in the camps by jumping out of a moving train.

Born in Brody, Poland (now Ukraine), Gina Lanceter was wedged inside a cattle car heading to the Maidenak concentration camp. Knowing that almost certain death awaited them at the camp, Gina’s parents encouraged her to try to save herself by jumping off the train. She did — cracking her skull, spraining her ankle, and sustaining a gunshot wound. After being “rescued” by a number of Poles, including a priest, she was returned to the ghetto in Brody and ultimately became the family’s sole survivor. Alone and adrift, she met her husband, who was from her hometown, right after the war. They were married in Poland. Gina was 16 ½ and wore a black dress, the only dress she had at the time. Eventually the couple made their way to a DP camp. Mrs. Lanceter just became a great-grandmother for the first time.

The event, sponsored by the Holocaust Council of MetroWest, part of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest, takes place from noon to 2 p.m. and wedding cake will be served.

Wedding photo: Yad Vashem.

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  1. Great Headline! Drew me right in, then I felt the inspiration bubble up. Knowing that such life long goodness can come from such horrific times is a great reminder to us all.

  2. I agree – unfortunate headline. Hitler was not the matchmaker. Nothing positive can be ascribed to Hitler even if unintentional. Hitler intended to wipe out an entire race of people.

  3. No Debbie — the title for the program today is, “Displaced Weddings” –check the website. https://www.ujcnj.org/local_includes/downloads/47548.pdf

    One survivor from the 2006 movie, “Undying Love” stated, “Hitler was our matchmaker.” Which is a level of grim irony and black humor which could only be stated by a survivor him or herself. The headline/title of the article is a questionable to me.


  4. Also, to be more accurate, while the program is being held at the JCC in Whippany, it is sponsored by the Holocaust Council of Metrowest, which is connected to the United Jewish Communities of Metrowest, not the JCC, which is a separate entity also connected to UJC.

  5. I hope that Mrs. Lanceter does not own a German automobile, today.
    Few have read the story of how Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagon and Porsche helped
    the Hitler movement, in Germany, during those very dark years. Without their help, he would have not been as sucessful in his unspeakable crimes against millions of people. BTW, Audi for the most part, styed out of it and tried to distant themselves from the “politics.” of murder” ~ But very quietly Audi “dismissed” all Jewish employees, just to play it safe.
    Yes, I too lost members of myfamily “over there” & changws our last name upon reaching America, 3 generations ago.

  6. From great loss can come great love. Without the headline many probably would not have read the article and been inspired.

    Imagine how great the love is these people had (have) to shine brightly in the darkness of that period of time. Leaving Hitler out of the equation diminishes the greatess of the love these people have for one another, as well as the bright light of their story.

    Imagine for a moment if, in telling the story of students helping poor people get back on their feet in New Orleans we didn’t mention the Bush lack of response to Katrina. Or if in telling the story of Academy Award Nominee Mark Ruffalo we neglected his brain tumor. Or for that matter how the forensic guy on CSI (forgot his name) we never mentioned that having two prosthetic legs is a part of his story of pressing on to achieve.

    Light cannot be defined by itself, it is best defined, and brightest, when it is shown against the dark.

    I stand with Debbie Galant on that headline.

  7. I’ll admit that I cringed when I first read that headline but after reading the story about the program, it’s actually a slap in the face to Hitler, whose goal was to annihilate Jews living in Europe. So, in the sense, these couples and their descendents had the last word.

  8. This is an appallingly ghastly headline. And in any basic creative writing class (save perhaps one taught by Heydrich or Himmler) probably occasion for an automatic “F.”

    It also, sadly, seems an example of the increasing trivialization of the importance of language on this site and elsewhere. It does no one credit to “stand” with Debbie Galant on choosing this phrasing. (Nor, really, for her to seemingly blithely explain that she merely took it from somewhere else in the first place.) . Are we so bewildered by the constant need for catchy headlines with which to attract posts in reply that some folks somehow missed the utter tastelessness of this one?

    And John Lee, really, the medical past of a very bad, twitchy actor named Mark Ruffalo don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the issues raised by the attempted extermination during world War II of European Jewry. That was quite a stretch (even on a website which has given us “Hot From The Kettle…”)

  9. As Mel Brooks would say, “It’s Springtime for Hitler!” and “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” It’s beautiful that solid marriages resulted from such unspeakable horrors. It’s an example of good prevailing over evil. Good always wins. Eventually. I love this story and the headline is an excellent one because it makes you look twice and read the article & comments. That’s the point of a headline. It serves a purpose to engage the reader.

  10. oy Cathar – “twitchy actor” sounds like someone has some issues with people with disabilities; (reminds me of the guy with the H-word surname)

    regarding the importance of language you cite, “doesn’t” is the appropriate word, not “don’t”

    I’m not sure what “Hot From The Kettle” has anything to do with the subject at hand, but since you brought up “kettle” and have such strong personal opinions of me, let’s have tea sometime so you can share your opinions about me face to face, how about Thursday at 3 at Starbucks?


  11. I seriously need to figure out how to get my face on my avatar, I don’t like having the appearance of those people who use faceless avatars and clever names to hide their identity.

  12. For those of you who cheerily proclaim, “Good always wins” and “Light shining against the dark.. blah blah blah.” I encourage you to read, study and learn more about the annihilation of 6 million Jews and more than a million others in the most ghastly, horrific, sadistic and brutal fashion, including mass graves which moved and heaved under the earth as those interred within suffocated and died, the deaths of one million children in ways that keep you up at night when you learn of them, as well the “willing accomplices” all over Europe who loaded Jews onto trains and lined them up to be shot by the Nazis and their collaborators.

    There is no “good over evil” narrative available to us regarding the Holocaust, nor does the darkness of the devestation make any so-called “light” shine brighter. Please, do not attempt to sanitize suffering with such trite, Hallmark-worthy expressions. Go study the Holocaust and see if then you could summon up the same meaningless phrases.

  13. @jesseptein: I’ve studied the Holocaust and am acutely aware of the horrors. It’s a wound we all carry around with us, as decent humans, Jews or not. Like the horrors of slavery. I’m not trying to diminish the import of the event, I’m simply stating a truth: Good always prevails over Evil. That’s not a Hallmark sentiment. It’s a law of nature. These marriages are an example of it. Being negative to a positive only hurts you. Doesn’t hurt me. Doesn’t change the fact that Good always prevails over Evil. Have some faith in the forces of goodness in humankind, jesseptein. Breathe.

  14. Thanks, John Lee. The assumption jessepstein makes in that I need to be directed / instructed to further study is questionable. Why the assumption? Maybe I should change my avatar to a pic where I’m wearing my glasses. That’ll maybe give me more academic cred, instead of street cred. Oh, by the way, go to avatar.com to get your avatar… you mentioned in a post you would like one. It’s easy. They’ll walk you through it.

  15. I have to agree with Jess Epstein on this one. God Bless this couple that survived and met each other under the horrendous circumstances. But 6 million others died because of Hitler and he was their “Exterminator” and that was his intention. No “good” came out of the holocaust. This couple’s marriage happened because of their own goodness and not because of Hitler. They happened to meet because of the historical circumstances — but please do not give any credit to the biggest mass murderer in history. If we agree with the headline it has the ring that yes Hitler was a monster — but something good came from his deeds. That’s just wrong. Nothing good came from his deeds. The goodness lies in the couple that met. The headline title is trying to be cute. Let’s not get all cute about the holocaust. Please. I agree — if a surviver says something like this – it is different. It shows defiance. Anyone else saying it ….doesn’t sound quite right.

  16. I agree with jsananda.

    but I have to make one correction.

    Hitler makes third place in the biggest mass murderer category.

    #1 Stalin, 62 million

    #2 Mao, 30-40 million

    #3 Hitler, 9-11 million

  17. I found the headline offensive- vulgar is more like it- too. Whether or not it came from the film. (Though adding its origin may have been helpful.)

  18. @John Lee and meg….Just go to the hotlink below this comment and click gravatar.com and you can pick and crop any photo from your computer. I have a whole gallery of them.

  19. Bravo Jessepstein and jsananda et al. Repulsive as a headline. Yes, Jsananda Hitler was their exterminator they just happened to survive. No good came from that evil. Zero. Jess: I agree that the title is “grim irony” that can only come from a survivor and has no place in a headline because the context is lost.

    To John Lee: Sorry I’m busy on Thurs. @ 3.

  20. “Right of Center | FEBRUARY 23, 2011 @ 12:41 P
    Hitler makes third place in the biggest mass murderer category.

    #1 Stalin, 62 million
    #2 Mao, 30-40 million
    #3 Hitler, 9-11 million”

    Oh, I see, ROC, you collect the dictator cards and maybe trade them in the playground. Does your pack come with a flat piece of powder-coated pink gum on top?

    Look, I found someone for you to have a play date with:


  21. John Lee, I never set foot in those overpriced coffeeshops where earnest-seeming clerks try to make you speak a different “language,” otherwise known as Starbuck’s. So I’ll of course decline your invite.

    And Mark Ruffalo is yet another wimp actor who, amazingly to me, continues to get work despite having all the rugged masculinity of a Monopoly token (probably the thimble). His lame performances are the screen equivalent of..wait, I’ve got it!..of Spiro Quayle’s desperately unfunny posts. But that you attempted to conflate his medical history with the bloody doings of Hitler and his fellow National Socialist butchers was, if not quite as bad as the headline of this item above, ghastly enough in its own way.

    You are quite welcome to “stand” with Debbie, however. Or even with poor Spiro T. if it came to that, if your social life is thst vapid.

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