Holocaust survivor who reached Riverdale passes away at 73

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Harry “Hal” Gorenstein, a longtime Bronx resident and Holocaust survivor, died on Sept. 15, 2013, at the age of 73.  The death was attributed to complications from myelofibrosis.

Mr. Gorenstein lived in the University Heights section of the Bronx when he emigrated with his family from Europe and later settled in the Riverdale area with his wife and two sons. 

A graduate of the borough’s Taft High School, Mr. Gorenstein worked as a commercial real estate broker.  He spent much of his free time supporting the efforts of his sons in the South Riverdale Little League and several other organizations involving his children. His favorite hobbies included fishing, cooking and horse racing. 

Mr. Gorenstein was born on Jan. 17, 1940, in Craiova, Romania, the country’s sixth-largest city.  His family was deported by the Nazis to the Cernovitz ghetto of Transnistria, today a breakaway region.  They managed to leave the region sometime in 1945. Mr. Gorenstein and his parents, Morris and Laura, survived Transnistria.  His older brother, Dudi, died in the ghetto.  

After leaving the Transnistrian ghetto, Mr. Gorenstein returned to Craiova.  Due to a lack of children’s clothing in the city, apparel was prepared for him from the fine suits of his wealthy uncle, Yunel Klein.  As a result, Mr. Gorenstein’s makeshift clothing appeared regal and those who became familiar with his story often affectionately referred him to as the “Prince of Craiova”.  

Mr. Klein, with his wealth and influence, was able to save the Gorensteins, as well as many others, from terrible fates. With Mr. Klein’s help, the Gorensteins crossed Eastern Europe to Prague and then traveled to Paris before eventually reaching New York and settling in the Bronx. 

Mr. Gorenstein later met Carol Heyman at Maxwell’s Plum, the famed Warner Leroy restaurant on First Avenue and 64th Street in Manhattan. It was known as a trendy gathering spot for singles, with its flamboyant décor and diverse menu.

The couple married in 1973 in Baldwin, N.Y.

Carol Gorenstein and her sons Eric, 36 and Jeffrey, 33, survive Mr. Gorenstein. His Brother Mickey, sister Jeanette Bender and nieces, nephews and cousins also survive him, with extended family living as far away as Lima, Peru and Paris.

Mr. Gorenstein’s funeral was held on Sept. 16.  He was buried at Baron Hirsch cemetery in Staten Island. 

His family, friends, neighbors and associates remember Mr. Gorenstein as a warm and compassionate soul with a great sense of humor; a colorful and beloved character; and a caring and devoted father, brother and husband.

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