Agi Rubin, beautiful, thoughtful woman, who was born and grew up in Munkacs, survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, taught many of us working on history and memory– Hank Greenspan, Sid Bolkosky, me — and was known to many students at UM and MSU and many Holocaust Museum visitors — came home from the hospital this week and died at home.
We survivors are bundles of contradictions,” she wrote in her book, Reflections: Auschwitz, Memory, and a Life Recreated, (with Hank Greenspan). “We push away the past, and we are constantly drawn back to it. When we are here, we are also there. And we are there, we are also here.” We in Jewish Studies at MSU are so sad to hear the news but feel blessed to have known and learned from her.
Agi wrote about Birkenau in the summer of 1944, “I will never forget the sounds. There was singing, Ani Maanim, ‘I believe in the coming of the Messiah.’ There were shouts of farewell—parents saying goodbye to children, old people saying good-bye to their families, a whole community saying good-bye to life. The Sh’ma, ‘Hear, O Israel.’ The end of the Sh’ma. The end of everything. Silence screaming just as loud.I will never forget these sounds. They will always haunt me.”