Sixty-four years ago, Holocaust survivor Lucy Rosenblith and Sam Carson joined Rabbi Emanuel Feldman and 10 guests in a small white house off Boulevard for the first marriage at which the rabbi officiated at Congregation Beth Jacob.
It’s a day Lucy Carson, now 86, remembers with clarity.
Carson was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in July 1931 and fled with her family to France in May 1940 when the Germans invaded Belgium.
She survived the war as a hidden child, living as a Catholic under a fake French name and being moved from one place to another to avoid the Nazis, who killed her parents.
Carson said she spent time in a children’s home and a convent over the course of five years. She survived with the help of a French humanitarian organization, Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, which before the war assisted underprivileged Jewish children by providing them a place to spend the summer.
Although her parents died at Auschwitz, Carson and her sister, their cousins, and other family members survived. After the war, Carson and her sister, Betty, moved to Atlanta in 1947 to live with relatives. The sisters welcomed Georgia as their new home and integrated into the community with the help of the New World Club, which assisted immigrant children.
Carson and first cousins Suzan Tibor and Regine Rosenfelder were honored as candle lighters at this year’s Days of Remembrance ceremony held by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.
Lucy met Sam Carson while she worked as a bookkeeper for a paper manufacturing company in Atlanta.
“He was a wonderful man, and it was easy for me to find the attraction,” she said. “He was the greatest and the love of my life.”
They were married almost 60 years until Sam’s death in 2012.
Carson recalled the tiny wedding ceremony at the old Congregation Beth Jacob on June 28, 1953.
The shul consisted of a small white house upstairs, in addition to a social hall and small living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs.
“I was the happiest girl alive,” said Carson, who noted that the ceremony was at the beginning of Rabbi Feldman’s career in Atlanta, before he traveled to Baltimore to get married himself.
Besides Beth Jacob, Atlanta at the time had The Temple, Ahavath Achim Synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, Congregation Or VeShalom and Congregation Anshi S’fard.
Carson’s father-in-law, Joseph Carson, who moved to Atlanta from North Dakota, was among the 10 members who founded Beth Jacob in a storefront before the congregation relocated to Boulevard and later to Toco Hills.
Carson has remained a devoted member of Congregation Beth Jacob and is heavily involved in the shul’s sisterhood.
She recalled how the community has evolved over time. “The congregation and community have grown larger, and Toco Hills is now considered the hub of Jewish Orthodoxy,” she said. “It’s quite a community, and I am very blessed to be a part of it. They have been such a great support to me.”