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