Menu JTA Search

Jewish Stewardess Died Helping Air Crash Victims Escape

Helga Lowenstein, 24-year-old stewardess aboard the Dutch KLM airliner which crashed near Shannon, Ireland, early Sunday morning, was miraculously saved from Nazi extermination–only to die while heroically rescuing passengers trapped in the doomed airship, it was learned here today.

Miss Lowenstein was born here and, in 1938, escaped with her parents to Holland. She was there when the Nazis overran The Netherlands. Her parents and a brother were arrested by the Germans and deported to be murdered in Nazi gas chambers. Helga, the baby of the family then, was turned over to the care of a non-Jewish Dutch family which shielded her from the Nazis for the duration of the war.

After the war, she returned here for a short time, found that her parents and brother were dead, then went back to Amsterdam. She studied nursing, and got a job with KLM as stewardess aboard a plane flying between Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. Recently, she was transferred to the cross-Atlantic run.

When the big ship crashed, Sunday morning, Miss Lowenstein was unhurt. She helped about 25 passengers to escape. But she continued going back into the passenger cabin to help other passengers out. On her last trip in, she was overcome by the gas fumes and perished. Her remains have been taken to Amsterdam for burial in the Jewish cemetery there.

NEXT STORY