‘Love will survive’: Holocaust survivor Fanny Krasner Lebovits shares her stories of 100 years of resilience

Centenarian and Holocaust survivor Fanny Krasner Lebovits wants people to remember the trauma she endured.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

La Jolla Centenarians


Fanny Krasner Lebovits has 100 years of strength and courage behind her and is sharing her lessons for what might be the last time.

“It costs me so much life to tell the story each time I have an interview. I promised myself this is it,” she told the La Jolla Light. “It’s very difficult.”

For posterity, however, Krasner Lebovits wrote a book when she was 95 titled “Memories, Miracles & Meaning: Insights of a Holocaust Survivor.”

In the book, Krasner Lebovits details her experiences living through the Holocaust, during which she and one of her sisters, Jenny, survived living in a Jewish ghetto and being placed in four Nazi concentration camps five different times.

“Lots of miracles happened,” Krasner Lebovits said of the years from 1941 to 1945.

Krasner Lebovits, who was born Oct. 27, 1922, in Liepaja, Latvia, is now a resident of the Pacific Regent La Jolla retirement community. She said that of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, 79 were her family members.

Fanny Krasner Lebovits wrote a book at age 95 detailing her experiences.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

“My parents had a shoe shop in a small factory,” she said. “My father was strong and healthy. … They lined up the working men [and] they shot them all.”

Among the miracles Krasner Lebovits experienced, she said, was surviving on a bare minimum of supplies, floating on a barge for nine days with nothing but a piece of bread and a bowl of water in which to steep potato peels.

“Thank God for that,” she said.

Krasner Lebovits worked as a nurse in the concentration camps with a doctor who also was incarcerated. They would have to amputate prisoners’ frostbitten fingers and toes with one tiny saw and a minuscule amount of anesthesia or painkillers.

Upon her liberation in May 1945, Krasner Lebovits weighed only 59 pounds and was “deadly sick,” she said.

“The doctor was attending to me [and] took out his gun and he said, ‘You better see that this girl doesn’t die; she must get the best care.’ That’s why I survived,” she said.

She recovered and moved to Stockholm, Sweden, and eventually worked for the World Jewish Congress.

She then moved to South Africa, where she married childhood friend Louis Krasner and started a family. The couple moved to San Diego in 1979, following their three adult children.

Nine months later, Louis died of a heart attack.

Fanny married naval commander Morris Lebovits more than two years later. He died of cancer in 1996.

Krasner Lebovits’ three children and one stepson are all in San Diego. She also has nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Throughout her life, she said, she has made it her mission “to tell the story and show the world that hate is no good. But love will survive.”

She wants people to remember “the tragedy of my people,” hoping her story will help prevent more suffering.

“It costs me so much life to tell the story each time I have an interview. ... It’s very difficult.”

— Fanny Krasner Lebovits

For her bravery during the Holocaust, Krasner Lebovits has received several commendations, including from California legislator Toni Atkins and former San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry.

“My advice to myself was always the hope that I will survive,” she said, and she offers that guidance to those who are struggling to remind themselves that they will survive.

“Be hopeful, be positive,” she said. “See the bad things in people but also see the good things.”

La Jolla Centenarians is an occasional series in the La Jolla Light. If you know a La Jollan who is or is about to be at least 100 years old, email