JERUSALEM – Hebrew University has received a surprise donation of more than $100,000 from an unexpected benefactor — a woman who survived the Nazi Holocaust and appeared to be destitute, a university official said Sunday.
Upon her death two years ago, a homeless Holocaust survivor living on the streets of New York City willed the gift to the university. The Jewish woman lived out of a shopping cart in Manhattan and had no known relatives, said Yefet Ozery, Hebrew University's director of development and public relations.
"She lived as a very poor woman. And when she died at the age of 92, it was discovered she had accumulated close to $300,000," Ozery said.
The university first learned about the gift three months ago but did not receive the money until this week. It will be used to fund scholarships for medical research students, according to the woman's wishes, Ozery said, refusing to disclose her name. The story was first reported by The Jerusalem Post daily.
Not much is known about the woman, who had no known connection to the university. She left the other half of her savings to various causes and beneficiaries, though Ozery said it is unknown how she amassed the small fortune.
"No one knows where she got it from. But she probably lived penny to penny. She probably saved it to do good for the world and for the Jewish people," Ozery said.
The woman's last known employer was a Jewish man in New York, who hired her to move his car to avoid parking tickets in exchange for a hot meal and a room, Ozery said. The woman also left that employer a portion of her savings.