Holocaust Survivor Helena Weinrauch on Trauma and the Joy of Dancing


Helena Weinrauch. Photo courtesy of Karen Goldfarb.

When Helena Weinrauch was 88 years old, she found a promotional flyer from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in her mailbox. The leaflet promised a free lesson followed by a party.

Four years later, Weinrauch has become a Dancing Angel, a title given to her by the Manhattan Ballroom Society, and currently spends five hours a week doing the Fox Trot, Merengue, Samba and Tango.  

“When I dance I forget everything that bothers me,” she told Lilith reporter Eleanor J. Bader. “My fear disappears. There was never time in my life for dancing before this. There were always more important things to do, but before I say goodbye to this world I want to do something I always dreamed of doing. I think I’ve earned it.”