Auschwitz survivor, longtime Beth Jacob member, dies at 68

It's not enough to say that Hanna Ramek read books, her husband says. She "ate" them.

"She was sitting until 12 o'clock, one o'clock, reading books," Henry Ramek says. "She was the highest-educated person you ever met."

Hanna Ramek, a German native who together with her husband survived Auschwitz, died of cancer Nov. 16 at her Oakland home. She was 68.

A member of Oakland's Beth Jacob Congregation for 45 years, Hanna Ramek was active in the synagogue sisterhood and was also an active member of Hadassah.

But her Judaism found expression less through organized religion than through the way she lived her life, her husband says.

"You couldn't talk a bad word about people when they weren't present. She wouldn't allow it. She never wanted a reward if she did a mitzvah."

One good deed she did, together with her husband, was give away free meat to students and others who could not afford it for Shabbat at their Oakland Kosher Foods, which Henry Ramek founded and owned for 35 years.

"She was a very fine lady in the European sense of the word," says Rabbi Howard Zack of Congregation Beth Jacob. "She made her contribution to the community."

More than 200 hundred people attended a funeral service for Hanna Ramek on Nov. 19 at the Colonial Chapel in Oakland.

She is survived by her husband, twin sons Dr. Joseph Ramek and Dr. Leo Ramek and grandchildren Amnon, Talia and Alex Ramek.