91-Year-Old Queens Holo­caust Sur­vivor Files Suit Against Squat­ters

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By: Max Rozwaski

Yvette Hy­man, a 91-yearold Holo­caust sur­vivor who re­cently lost her hus­band, has filed a law­suit claim­ing her Queens va­ca­tion home was taken over by squat­ters in 2014.

In the law­suit, Hy­man, whose fam­ily hid from the Ger­mans in Nazi-oc­cu­pied France dur­ing World War II, al­leges that she was taken ad­van­tage of by a cou­ple who claimed that their home had been de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Sandy. Ac­cord­ing to a New York Post re­port this month, the cou­ple, Sarah and Howard Kindler, spent two years in Hy­man’s 4-bed­room Rock­away Beach home and even­tu­ally stopped pay­ing the rent of $2,000 a month. Though Hy­man told the cou­ple they needed to va­cate the premises by Septem­ber 2014 so that she could sell the prop­erty, they ig­nored the re­quest, and were still present af­ter 18 months.

In court pa­pers, Hy­man al­leges the cou­ple “tricked her into leas­ing them her home in the wake of Su­per­storm Sandy, and then re­fused to pay or leave as promised.” The in­ci­dent is eerily sim­i­lar to the ex­pe­ri­ence Hy­man’s fam­ily un­der­went at the end of the war, when the neigh­bors to whom they had en­trusted their home re­fused to re­turn it.

The NY Post re­ports that Hy­man’s lawyer, Michael Strage, says the Kindler’s clearly took ad­van­tage of his client’s kind­ness and gen­eros­ity in lend­ing them the house below its mar­ket value. Fur­ther­more, the cou­ple de­ceived Hy­man by claim­ing that Hur­ri­cane Sandy had de­stroyed their home, when in fact they were sim­ply look­ing for a place to stay tem­po­rar­ily while seek­ing to ren­o­vate it.

“This was a mitz­vah and they cer­tainly did not treat it as such,” Strage told the Post, which noted that Hy­man is seek­ing over $1 mil­lion in dam­ages, and in­tends to al­lo­cate the pro­ceeds to­wards help­ing Jew­ish fam­i­lies in need.

Hy­man is not the first Queens res­i­dent to have this un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence. A sim­i­lar episode took place in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the Real Deal, when 71-year-old Queens res­i­dent Jen­nifer Merin found that squat­ters had moved into her home, changed the locks, and in­formed the po­lice that the house legally be­longed to them.

Merin told the New York Post at the time that she be­lieved the city was “neg­li­gent in the way in which they al­lowed the deed to be reg­is­tered. There was no in­di­ca­tion that any of those sig­na­tures were re­lated to my fam­ily or the prop­erty.”

Ac­cord­ing to a New York Post re­port this month, the cou­ple, Sarah and Howard Kindler, spent two years in Hy­man’s 4-bed­room Rock­away Beach home and even­tu­ally stopped pay­ing the rent of $2,000 a month

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