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Residents share heritage, history at Hickory Valley Retirement

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013

Community is the emphasis for staff and residents of Hickory Valley: A Senior Living Community. With a focus on building and maintaining lasting relationships, everyone on the East Brainerd campus has an opportunity to shine and share a little more about who they are with each other.

The community is set up to provide a maintenance-free way of living to help residents enjoy their retirement and all the opportunities afforded.

Hickory Valley provides meals, housekeeping services and more along with a wide range of activities for residents, from bingo and crafts to Wii bowling tournaments and a traveling chorus group. “We are really fortunate we have so many people from so many different backgrounds,” said Hickory Valley Sales Director Holley Hasting. “To hear about where they come from, what they did as their profession is a really unique opportunity and one of the perks of my job.”

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    Hickory Valley Sales Director Holley Hasting visits with resident Sylvia Green.

The campus is home to many with rich heritage and history. One such resident is Sylvia Green. Wife to one and mother of two children, the 88-year-old is a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust with an incredible story to share.

Born in Germany in 1924, Green endured being kicked out of her school when Adolf Hitler came to power, losing friends because of her faith and being subjected to life in multiple concentration camps, the loss of family and so much more during her lifetime. Since moving from Kentucky to Chattanooga and becoming a Hickory Valley resident two years ago, however, she has found good outlets to share her tale with others.

“I don’t really talk about it much unless someone asks,” Green said. “Everyone here is very nice and friendly.”

A Star of David never leaves her neck. She said she finds that people often ask about it, and that gives her a chance to share when they inquire. “For so many years I had no religion because I wasn’t allowed to have one,” Green said. “My star is very important to me, so I always wear it and am glad to tell others when they ask.”

The resident recounts parts of her life from her family’s deportation to Poland to living and working in many different concentration camps and losing many of the people she loved.

“It got to where you were like a zombie,” Green said of her life at that time. “You just did whatever you were asked to do, sometimes without even really knowing it.”

In addition to her activities and life at Hickory Valley, she fi nds time to volunteer with the local Jewish Federation. Green said she doesn’t get out as much as she would like, but is happy to help where she can and glad that Hickory Valley gives her that opportunity. Green’s story is published in “This is Home Now: Kentucky’s Holocaust Survivors Speak” by Arwen Donahue.

To hear a complete audio recording of her story, visit http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn511184.

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