The Holocaust, cancer … and she’s still here

Published on: 01/17/07

A lot of things can make us grateful for another birthday. Coming face to face with death — your own or a loved one’s — is one them.

Either way, you learn to take life as it’s handed to you. That’s been Sally Nyssenkorn’s way for more than a century now. Through childhood malnutrition. Through family separations during World War II. Through breast cancer and a double mastectomy at age 72. Through the deaths of two husbands.


Sally Nyssenkorn, a Holocaust survivor, turned 102 last month.

Sally Nyssenkorn was widowed and for a while was parted from her children during the Holocaust. In Atlanta since 1951, she now keeps busy with exercise and bingo at an assisted-living facility.

Come what may, she always tried to make the best of it.

“As long as you can walk and talk and know what’s going on,” she says, “then it’s OK.”

On Dec. 26, surrounded by dozens of friends and family, she celebrated another birthday. Her 102nd.

“Parties are good,” she says.

In a lot of ways, her story sounds like so many other Holocaust survivors. And unless you’ve had the good fortune of avoiding the evening news lately, you might want to scream enough already.