EDNA H. GREENE –
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
My parents were born in Germany
and lived in Munich. My father was an
executive at Photo Schja in Munich.
He remained an avid photographer his
whole life. My parents’ apartment was
seized by the Gestapo in 1938 to hand
over to Ms. Unity Midford, a British
socialite living in Germany and vicious
anti-Semite. She was an intimate friend
of Hitler's. This made them redouble
their efforts to escape Germany.
They finally got their exit visas in
August, 1939, and fled to England just
as the war broke out. Unfortunately, the
ship containing all of their belongings
wasn't allowed to dock and they lost
everything. Worse yet, my father was
interned on the Isle of Man for 16 months.
At last they were united and I was born
in London in the midst of the war. Our US
immigration visas arrived after the war, and
we moved to New York City.
Edna and Gerson Greene
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up in Kew Gardens Hills, attending
PS 164 on 77 Avenue and 138 Street, and
Parsons Junior High School in Flushing.
After graduating Forest Hills High School, I
went to Queens College for my BA and MS
in Education. I loved numbers and math but
chose to become a teacher. I began teaching
third grade in Harlem. After a few years, I
took maternity leave to begin having a family.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY?
I was a married to Gerson Greene for almost
45 years. He was a civil engineer and a partner
in Greene & Kamen. I have a son Andrew,
who works at Adobe as a data scientist, and
a daughter Michelle, who devotes herself to
volunteer work. My four grandchildren are
growing up too fast. One attends Northeastern
University, one is starting Drexel in the fall and
the others are in high school.
Gerson and I enjoyed a great deal of travel,
especially to Israel. We went there on our
honeymoon right after the Six Day War.
We celebrated our son's Bar Mitzvah at the
Western Wall in 1982 and returned several
Another trip took us back to Germany,
where I was able to see where my parents and
grandparents had lived before the war. One
year I retraced where I spent the first four years
of my life in London. We went to Australia
and New Zealand, where once again I was
able to reconnect with family that had fled
there to escape Hitler. Sadly, Gerson passed
away in 2011.
DID YOU HAVE A CAREER?
After my maternity leave I returned to teaching,
but not in the city. An opportunity opened
up and I began teaching nursery school at
Temple Israel of Jamaica. A few years later I
became the Director. After a while I wanted
a change. I missed my affinity for numbers.
I then worked in an accountant's office and
enjoyed it very much.
Volunteer work has been my favorite career.
I just started my 18th year as Treasurer of
Hillcrest Jewish Center. I've been involved
in that temple for almost
50 years. I participated in
the first Adult Bar Mitzvah
Class. Besides being a Life
Member, I have served as
Chair for several committees.
One committee that made
a big impact on my life, and
that of the temple, was the
Egalitarian Committee. It
took several years for us to
transition into an Egalitarian
Congregation, where men
and women participate
For the past 25 years, I
have ushered at the Queens
Theatre, which was adapted
from the former Theaterama
at the 1964 New York
World's Fair. After seating
the ticket holders, I get to be
a part of the audience. This
has given me the opportunity
to expose myself to ballet,
Shakespeare, the classics,
and new playwrights.
In 2017 ProHealth
established a Medicare
Beneficiary and Community Advisory Board.
I was delighted when asked to serve. We meet
a couple of times each year. It consists of
patients like myself and medical personnel.
We give feedback to help improve care for the
Medicare – and all ProHealth patients.
OF YOUR MANY ACTIVITIES AT
NST, WHICH DO YOU FIND THE
I enjoy working with and using computers
and other tech gadgets. They don't frighten
me. My husband and I used to build
When Spectrum's package included a DVR,
I heard many of my friends and residents
express frustration at not being able to use
the DVR. I made myself available to anyone
who wanted to learn. It usually took about
an hour and I insisted that they take their
own notes. I've only had one or two people
ask me to come back and answer a few more
questions. I restrict my list to those who live
in Building One.
I am part of the Holocaust Remembrance
Program, helping with logistics. This program
is very close to my heart as a second generation
Edna Greene is a familiar face at
North Shore Towers as her photo will
attest. She is involved in so many activities
and yet avoids the limelight. The
only child of Holocaust survivors, she
has boundless energy and contributes
to many committees and events at NST,
her home for the past six years. Her
community activities range from the
Queens Theater to ProHealth to the
Hillcrest Jewish Center.
4 NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER ¢ July 2019