Liz Lippa, 77; child Holocaust survivor, documentary producer

Liz Lippa in 2009. Photo: Lisa Mandel

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Elisabeth (Liz) Newman Lippa, a Holocaust escapee and survivor who produced a documentary on St. Louis survivors, died Friday, Dec. 18, after a battle with cancer at age 77. 

An active volunteer with the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center of St. Louis and OASIS, she was a resident of St. Louis since 2002.

Mrs. Lippa was born Jan. 24, 1938, in Vienna, Austria, to Bertha and William Newmann. In 1939, she and her family fled the Nazis and resettled in Montevideo, Uruguay. In 1946, they came to the United States and lived in Richmond, Va.  She married Charles Lippa in 1956, and they reared six children in Chicago and Springfield, Ill.

She spent nine years in Connecticut before moving to St. Louis and developed programs to prevent domestic violence in Illinois and Connecticut. 

Mrs. Lippa was recognized as a docent, actress and storyteller in the St. Louis community and was a longtime volunteer for OASIS and the St. Louis Holocaust Survivors and Descendants Group. She served as a docent for an OASIS Film Discussion-Jewish Stories Class that viewed and discussed films at the Holocaust Museum.

In 2009, Mrs. Lippa produced a documentary that  focused on Holocaust survivors in the St. Louis area.  “Scattered Seeds: Hidden Children of the Holocaust” was broadcast in July 2009 on the Higher Education Channel (HEC).

As reported in a 2009 story in the Jewish Light, the documentary focuses on the stories of Jerry and Marie (whose last names were withheld), both of whom were child survivors. Lippa, herself a child survivor, served as the film’s producer, narrator and moderator, interviewing the subjects. Each tells a child’s-eye story of surviving the war and of life afterward.  At the end, Lippa discusses some of her own story about her family escaping Austria to South America during the war.

Jean Cavender, director of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, paid tribute to Lippa in a statement to associates of the museum, in which she informed the community of Mrs. Lippa’s passing “with a heavy heart.”

“Liz was one of the lucky ones to escape Hitler’s tyranny,” Cavender wrote. “Liz always spoke about how lucky she was to have family.  She went on to have six children who were at her bedside. …

“Liz was also a gifted writer and storyteller, and during these last few years became involved in productions that showed her great talent. I know this gave her great joy.”

Mrs. Lippa is survived by her brother Peter and cousin Edith, as well as children Gregg (Lee Ann), Jeff, Cherrie (Wayne), Debra (Rex), Denise (Jill) and Laura (Pat), and “several precious grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

A service was held at Temple Beth El in Springfield, Ill., on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Memorial contributions suggested for the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in St. Louis, 12 Millstone Campus Dr., 63146, or