Grandchild of four Holocaust survivors, Arik Cohen tells their stories of perseverance, luck, and resilience while calculating the incredible odds of their survival.
Arik's mater nal grandparents, Arye Schneider and Masha Klein, were born in Lithuania. Arye was born in Šaukėnai (Shukyan), Lithuania, where in 1941 nearly the whole Jewish population was murdered. Arye escaped and made his way to the Siauliai (Shavli) ghetto, where he met his wife Masha, a teacher who hailed from Neverenai (Nevaran). After the Shavli Ghetto massacre in November 1943, Arye and Masha hid in the woods for eight months until the Soviet Army liberated Lithuania.
Arik's paternal grandparents were from the Transylvania region in Romania. His grandfather Emil Kohn grew up in Suplac, while his grandmother Eva Hirsch was from Gherla. In May 1944, Emil and Eva were in Oradea when the ghetto was formed along with 35,000 other Jews, and not long after they were both deported to Auschwitz. After being separated upon arrival at Auschwitz, Eva was then sent to Stutthof to be used as slave labor, until she was forced on a death march in January 1945 and eventually liberated by the Soviet Army. Emil was liberated from Buchenwald in April of 1945 and found his way back to Eva.
Amazingly, both couples ended up living in the small beach town of Nahariya, Israel, and two of their children (Arik's parents) met and married. Today Arik lives in Bellevue and shares his grandparents' stories.
“I was hidden with a Catholic family, a couple [with] no children. They pretended I was a cousin from the countryside."
Agi Day (nee Zagorka Herzog) was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) in May 1940. Her family, being Jewish, escaped to Hungary when she was a baby, and during the last nine months of World War II Agi was hidden by Catholic people who posed her as one of their own.
In 1946, the growing threat of Communism again forced Agi and her family to flee. They escaped Hungary and then lived in several Displaced Persons camps in Austria.
In 1951 at age 11, Agi joined her mother in Toronto, Ontario, where she grew up and then became a teacher. She taught elementary school and English as a Second Language in the Toronto schools until she moved to Montreal, Quebec. In Montreal she raised her children while studying French, and was active in numerous community organizations. 10 years later, Agi and her family moved to Seattle, where she continued her volunteer
activities and went back to school to get a Master’s degree in Organizational Communication.
Later , Agi pursued a career in real estate for about 15 years on Mercer Island. She is now retired but still involved as a volunteer for different organizations. Since 2014, Agi has spoken to schools and community groups about her experiences during the Holocaust as a member of the Holocaust Center Speakers Bureau.
View video testimony clips of Agi Day, see photos of Agi and her family, and read more on the Survivor Encyclopedia: Washington State.