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Memorial for Mathilde Betty Albers

Memorial Image
Graveside: Private Service
Memorial: 11:30 AM Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
Temple Sinai
2808 Summit Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609
Memorial Contribution: The Jewish Federation & Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay
2121 Allston Way, Suite 200
Berkeley, CA 94704
Memorial Contribution: Temple Sinai
2808 Summit Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

On August 6th, 2016, Mathilde Albers passed away at the age of 99 at her residence in Oakland, California. Born on December 2, 1916 in Germany, Mathilde was the daughter of the late Oskar Wolff and Betti ( nee Weinberg). Due to the radical marginalization of German Jews by the Nazi regime, Mathilde was denied entry to medical school, staying at home where she met the love of her life, her future husband Henry Albers. Mathilde and Henry married subsequent to the atrocities of Kristallnacht and planned their escape from Germany. The Albers were able to acquire the necessary work permits to enter England. Through her continued perseverance to attain visas, after being interred from 1939 thru 1941, they were able to enter the United States over two years later after 16 grueling weeks at sea on the captured German ship, the Dusseldorf.

Ever defying the odds, Mathilde entered the United States with nothing but the determination that would guide her throughout her life. Henry and Mathilde created their own American Dream, a successful wholesale contract furnishing firm and thereafter, a successful hospital equipment supply company through pure willpower and the entrepreneurial spirit. Inseparable in work and life, the Albers embodied the immigrant energy of making a positive impact on their community. They shared a passion for travel and learning and Mathilde continued this love of world exploration throughout her life.

After the early passing of her beloved Henry in 1974, Mathilde and her son Dennis decided to sell the business and focus her life in the support of Jewish causes and activism. She became, in fact, married to philanthropy and her involvement in advocacy was expansive. Mathilde served as the Honorary President for Life of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, Temple Sinai and many local and national boards. Through her conviction that her family might have survived the Holocaust had Israel existed before 1945, her mission included Holocaust remembrance and other organizations dedicated to the betterment of Israel. Having escaped the horrors, Mathilde made it her purpose to ensure that Israel remains a sanctuary for the world’s Jews. Her extensive involvement included roles with the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC and Israel Bonds. She was an active member of the American Society for the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, an advisor to Israel’s premier as part of UJA/Federation of North America Prime Minister’s Council and on the board of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mathilde was a jewel- the sparkling embodiment of Tzedakah. She was a quiet philanthropist who understood her obligation to give because she herself had been blessed. A poised and elegant dresser, Mathilde possessed a quick wit and a determined will. A fierce advocate, she used her prosperity for the good of others. Mathilde exemplified the motivation for Tzedakah- to sustain the Jewish people, to enhance Jewish life, and to strengthen the community for today and the future. She will be greatly missed. She is survived by her son Dennis, daughter in law Tracy and her grandchildren Joel and Jamie.

A memorial service will be held at Temple Sinai in the Sanctuary on Wednesday, August 10th at 11:30 am. Temple Sinai is located at 2808 Summit Street, Oakland, California 94609. Contributions in her memory may be directed to: Jewish Federation of the East Bay, 2121 Allston Way #200, Berkeley, CA 94704 or Temple Sinai 2808 Summit St, Oakland, CA 94609.