Miracles & Meals: Recipes From The Holocaust

— by Ronit Treatman

Philadelphia resident Ruth Kessler is featured in the new cookbook Miracles & Meals, a compilation of 115 stories and over 250 recipes collected from Holocaust Survivors around the world. Miracles & Meals may be purchased from her website.

More after the jump.


Ruthie and Erika Kessler

Ruthie Kessler was born in Vienna, Austria in 1933. She lived with her older sister, Erika, and her parents, Henry and Lotte. Following the Nazi takeover of Austria in March 1938, things began to deteriorate for the Jews in Vienna. In 1939, Ruthie’s parents placed her on the Kindertransport to England ,in order to save her life. For various reasons, Ruthie’s sister, Erika, was not included on the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport was a rescue operation that saved 10,000 children from Nazi terror. In May, 1939, Ruthie waved goodbye to her family at the train depot. With tears in her eyes, she shouted to them, “Will I see you soon?”  Ruthie traveled by train across Europe and then boarded a ship. Bewildered, confused and with nothing but what she wore, Ruthie set sail for Liverpool, England. During the war, Ruthie lived with a foster family in London. To avoid the German air raids and for her own safety, she was temporarily sent to a hostel at the northern tip of England.

While Ruthie escaped to Great Britain, her father fled to the United States with the only authorized visa for the family. He intended to obtain additional visas for Ruthie’s mother and sister, but the American Consulate failed to produce the promised visas, even after her father had met the many bureaucratic demands. Meanwhile, Ruthie’s mother and sister were deported to Poland in 1941. Letters sent from the ghetto there were smuggled out with the help of a former family maid. The last letter received from her sister was dated July 1942. It is believed that they were either killed outright or transported to a death camp, where they both perished.

Chocolate Chip CookiesAfter the war, Ruthie came to the United States at her father’s request, but he, unfortunately, could not support her. By the time she was 16, Ruthie had lived in five foster homes and attended 15 schools. She eventually settled in with her uncle and aunt in Philadelphia, where she completed her education. Ruthie and her husband, Lou, have three children and four grandchildren and still live in the Philadelphia area today.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (parve or dairy)

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • ¾ cup cake meal
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup & 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips

Mix butter (margarine) and sugar until just blended. Add eggs. Add all dry ingredients (except choc chips) and mix until blended.  Add vanilla & juice.  Stir in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees on a greased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Jewish apple cake
Jewish Apple Cake (parve)
Dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Apple mixture

  • 4 granny smith apples
  • Handful raisins
  • Handful walnuts
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  1. In a separate bowl peel and pare apples and add all other apple mixture ingredients.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Alternate dough with apples mixture making sure that apple mixture is on the tops.
  4. Bake for 1 ½ hours