Irene Dynenson Steinman lived through one of the 20th century’s darkest times. The longtime resident of the Northwest area of East Hampton died on Nov. 30 in West Nyack, N.Y. She was 85.
She was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1927. In 1941, her family fled the invading German army for Russian-controlled territory, where they obtained visas from Chiune Sugihara, Japanese diplomat to Lithuania. Sugihara is credited with saving the lives of thousands of Jews by way of the travel visas he issued.
Unfortunately, Irene Dynenson’s family did not survive. Several days before the Germans invaded the Soviet part of Poland, she alone went to visit an uncle, a physician in a town still under Soviet control. When her uncle was pressed into service to treat wounded Soviet soldiers being evacuated to the east, he took Irene Dynenson with him.
After the war, she returned to Poland, then studied in Geneva and helped Holocaust survivor children. She became an instructor at the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, the home for children of the Holocaust in France.
Relatives and friends brought her to the U.S., where in 1951 she earned a bachelor’s degree in her fourth language. She met and married Jerry Steinman of the Bronx. After raising their two sons, she obtained a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. For the next 40 years she worked as vice president and treasurer of Beer Marketer’s Insights, the family business.
She is survived by her sons, Benj and Glen, and three grandchildren. Memorial contributions were suggested for the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation, the Institute for Visual History and Education, 650 West 35th Street, Suite 114, Los Angeles 90089-2571.