Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016...11:39 am

Sam Saide, Shoah survivor, dies at 89

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St. Paul resident built successful auto parts business and helped found Beth Jacob Congregation

By JOEL RIPPEL

After the death of his daughter, Sarah Rivka, Sam Saide began to devote more of his time to the Sons of Jacob Congregation in St. Paul.

Rabbi Morris Allen, of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, said in his eulogy for Saide that “in the mid 1960s, Sam became the gibor (person of strength and valor) of that shul community — he did anything that needed to be done and more. When the payroll couldn’t be met, he quietly made sure the rabbi was paid. He single-handedly would put out Kiddush on Shabbat morning — often buying the cakes and herring and gefilte fish himself.”

Sam Saide. Photo by David Sherman.

Sam Saide (Photo: David Sherman Photography / Transfer of Memory)

Saide, a Holocaust survivor who arrived in St. Paul in 1949, firmly believed in the importance of the congregation.

“He taught himself how to read Torah so that the daily minyan had a Torah reader,” Rabbi Allen added. “He oversaw the financial aspects of the shul, he found the caretakers.”

When the future of the congregation, one of the oldest in the Twin Cities, became uncertain, Saide played a crucial role in the 1985 merger of Sons of Jacob and the New Conservative Congregation.

“Had it not been for Sam in a variety of ways,” said Rabbi Allen, who was hired at Beth Jacob in August 1986, “the merger talks that began with the New Conservative Congregation would not have produced the shul now known as Beth Jacob.”

Saide died Sept. 17, in St. Paul. He was 89.

“When Sam arrived in St. Paul in 1949, he had $7.50 in his pocket,” Rabbi Allen recounted in his eulogy, “and an unbelievable ability to sense how to survive.”

Saide, who was born in Poland in June 1927, had survived five years in concentration camps during World War II. At Posen, the first camp established by the Nazis in occupied Poland, he survived by lying about his age. After telling guards he was 19 instead of 13, he was forced into hard labor.

From Posen, Saide was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He also survived Dachau and the Warsaw Ghetto.

After arriving in Minnesota, Saide learned English and got a job rebuilding auto parts. He was introduced to his future wife, Mary Rosenzweig, also a Holocaust survivor. Saide eventually opened his own auto parts company, which is still in business.

Saide was preceded in death by his wife, who died in March 2011, at the age of 83. Saide is survived by his son, Isadore, who runs the auto parts business, daughter-in-law, Cheryl; daughter, Toby Saide Meirovitz, son-in-law Michael Meirovitz; and four grandchildren.

The chapel at Beth Jacob Congregation is named the Saide Chapel; the Sarah Rivka Saide Endowment Fund provides for maintenance of the chapel.

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Sam Saide’s story is included in the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Transfer of Memory exhibition. For information about the exhibition, visit: transferofmemory.org.

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