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Helen and Sol Krawitz Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

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Descendant Profile








    Jessica Appelbaum Wang is one of three co-founders of 3GNJ. Her grandmother who is 92 (as of this 2021 bio) is a Holocaust survivor living in Brooklyn, New York. Her grandfather passed away at 90 in 2015 and was also a survivor serving in the Partisans and later Soviet Russian army. Jessica tells her grandfather, Abraham Appelbaum’s story of Holocaust survival to school and civic groups across New Jersey as part of her WEDU training at the SSBJCC Holocaust and Education Center in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The professional training occurred in 2019 in partnership with 3GNY. In 2021 Jessica was installed on the Board of 3GNY as a result of the two organizations forming a regional partnership with 3GPA.

    Jessica has been married to her husband, Josh, for almost 22 years. Josh ran the NYC marathon in November 2018 on behalf of Blue Card, an organization that supports needy Holocaust survivors. Josh and Jessica have two children, Anne (17) and Jonah (15). They live in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Jessica is the Senior Vice President of Placement at 2U, Inc., a leader in digital education.

    Refer to Jessica Wang Interview in Descendant Submission (Below)


    Jessica Wang, Grandaughter of Abraham and Frida Applebaum

    Date: August 30, 2023

    Interviewer: Nancy Gorrell

    Place SSBJCC Phone Interview 


    Q: What was it like to grow up with your grandfather? What are some of your favorite memories?

    A: It was a lot a fun. Although he had been through a lot, he had a playful side. He took us to Coney Island and McDonalds and he played Monopoly with us. We had an apple tree in our backyard. He would climb the apple tree with us and eat an apple. 

    Q: Where was your grandfather living in proximity to you and your family? 

    A: My grandfather lived in Seagate, Brooklyn my whole life. My family was living Old Bridge NJ. When he came to visit us, we would climb that apple tree and we would have a lot of fun eating the apples. He lived near Coney Island too and would take us there. My grandfather was always happy to play games and loved to spend time with us. Those were my key memories. 

    Q: Did he ever talk to you about his past? 

    A: He always talked to me about his past throughout my childhood and into adulthood. When I was a kid, the way some kids heard fairytale stories, my grandfather would tell me stories about how he grew up in Ukraine and the time he spent during the war. 

    Q: Do you remember how it affected you? 

    A: It was a part of my childhood. It was part of my family history and didn’t seem unusual. 

    Q: Was he sad or proud about anything? 

    A: He was very proud. There was no question about that. 

    Q: Proud of what? 

    A: His heroism during the war. 

    Q: Was your grandfather at all your milestones? 

    A: Oh yeah. Definitely. We had dinner together once a week as a family and spent holidays together. He was so proud of his whole family. 

    Q: Did he always live close by? 

    A: Yes, we were always able to see each other. 

    Q: Do you have siblings? 

    A: Yes. I have a brother six years younger. He was always included.

    Q: Was there any story he told you that was particularly memorable—one you tell your children? 

    A: I have to think about his for a moment. I guess one of things that stood out to me was that he was always so brave and yet not afraid to run. He didn’t accept when something happened to him. He wanted to be in control of the situation. 

    Q: Can you expand on that?

    A: One thing I instill in my children is that they should think for themselves, and if they have to, they should run, and not stay in a difficult situation. My grandfather was a fighter and a runner and not a stayer. 

    Q: More Jews may have been saved if they had run and not stayed at just the right times.

     A: Yes. He fought for the partisans in the forests and the Soviet Army. He was very proud of it and has many medals to show for it.

    Q: Is Frida, your grandmother, still with us? What can you tell me about her?

    A: Yes. She’s 95 and still living in Brooklyn (as of 2023). My grandmother is my hero because she endured so much. She served as slave to the Germans when they came into her in town of Tomoshpol, Russia during the war. She often served in place of her sister and mother so that they didn’t have to serve the Germans.  

    Q: How old was she at the time. 

    A: She was about 14 at the time. She always supported education for me and my brother because she had lost so much of herself during the war.

  • Sources and Credits:


    SSBJCC Holocaust Memorial and Education Center Interview of Jessica Wang by Nancy Gorrell, August 30, 2023;
    Biography by Jessica Wang; digital historic and family photographs donated by Jessica Wang and Patricia Appelbaum.