Drive-by parade held for Holocaust survivor turning 100

NOW: Drive-by parade held for Holocaust survivor turning 100


SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Ruth Heumann, also known as “Omi” to close friends and family, has lived what family members said, a historic life.

“A very historic life actually, we came to the United States in 1948. My parents both were born in Germany and during the Holocaust, they immigrated to Israel and that’s where they meant,” Omi’s daughter Judy Heumann said.

From living through the Holocaust, to immigrating to the United States, living in Chicago and now South Bend, Omi is now turning 100 years young during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family members, friends, neighbors, and even some South Bend police officers, surprised her today with a drive-by parade.

“We got some of our friends together and we lucked out with about a dozen cars, and we decorated and came through and surprised her! She had no idea,” Omi’s granddaughter Karen Holtzberg said.

Signs and balloons from loved ones filled the yard, and honking and cheering filled the streets!

This is not the birthday celebration that family members would have liked to have for Omi, but COVID-19 wasn’t stopping them from putting on a special day for one remarkable South Bend local.

“It was just something special because of coronavirus, we couldn’t do what we wanted to do was to have everybody come in from out of town and celebrate maybe at a restaurant, we couldn’t do that,” Heumann said.

“It’s a milestone that a lot of people don’t get to see, this, the life, the gift of life is something that should be acknowledged and celebrated in any way possible and there was just no way we were going to let the day go by with nothing, there was just no way,” Holtzberg said.

Omi is described as loving, generous and giving, loved ones said that anyone who meets her adores her.

“She’s just a wonderful person, she’s warm hearted, she’s a giving soul, people that meet her just cherish her because she’s just a wonderful person,” Heumann said.

“She’s a gift that keeps on giving,” Holtzberg said.

A gift is exactly what her granddaughter Karen and her daughter Judy said she is to the family.

“My Omi is a treasure and has been a real gift to the family for decades. She has the soul of a soaring spirit, she’s a beautiful person inside and out,” Holtzberg said.

"My mom has always been you know the person that I would go to, shes always been. I cherish her immensely,” Heumann said.

The celebration was everything and more than expected, family members feeling grateful for everyone making Omi’s birthday one to remember.

“It was beautiful! Just to have siren and lights just kind of added some extra glitter to the whole morning, so for that we’re grateful,” Holtzberg said.

Share this article: