Kitty Friedenbach Saks

by | Jun 10, 2021 | Obituaries

VIRGINIA BEACH—Kitty Friedenbach Saks, 88, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 9, 2021 with her family by her side.

Kitty lived an extraordinary life, challenged with hardship, struggle, and uncertainty as a young girl, and later as a young adult, blessed with redemption, a loving family, adoring friends and community.

Kitty was a survivor of the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust while living in Austria and later Belgium. Many daring border crossings with her parents to flee to safety through the wilderness in the darkness of night ultimately failed. She was later separated from her family and lived through the war years as a hidden Jewish child under an assumed name and identity in multiple Catholic Convents and orphanages. Her will to survive was driven by a strong personal resolve and sheer determination, empowered by her deep rooted Jewish identity. As a young girl in the convents, she would recite the Shema every evening, a traditional prayer and personal declaration of faith and affirmation of Judaism.

Sponsored by relatives in Norfolk, Va., Kitty and her parents were able to immigrate to the United States following the war. She met her future husband, Abbott, at a B’nai Israel Synagogue social event when she was 17. Kitty and Abbott shared a deep bond, an enduring commitment to each other, and a loving marriage that spanned over 64 years.

Kitty was small in stature, but was large in life, multifaceted, and engaging. She was a wonderful daughter, mother, and grandmother, a terrific cook, and loved to entertain. She oversaw the family clothing business, volunteered for many organizations and causes, and was an animal lover.

In her later years, she embraced a personal mission to support continued education and discussion of The Holocaust. She presented her story at multiple local schools and organizations in the hope that future generations may be enlightened and spared of the hate, evil, and injustices she had witnessed and endured.
Left to cherish her memory is her daughter, Tonie S. Wilkins and her husband, Frank of Virginia Beach; her son, David Saks and his wife, MaryLou of Delray Beach, Fla.; and two grandsons, Elliot A. Saks and Adam L. Saks.

Kitty will forever be remembered by all fortunate to have known her, for her quick wit and feisty personality that would magically illuminate and enliven any room.

She leaves a legacy filled with eternal hope and boundless courage, an inspiration forever, to all who read and learn of her life story.

A private family graveside service was conducted in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. Contributions to the donor’s favorite charity. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Online condolences may be sent to the family through