Senior Living & Townehouse News

Phyllis "Cookie" Dimant with friend Oreo

The Amazing Life Story of Townehouse resident Phyllis “Cookie” Dimant

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Meet Townehouse resident Phyllis “Cookie” Dimant – an amazing life story indeed!

Cookie was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1937 to Cy and Emma Korentajer. When Cookie was ten years old her family fled the Nazis, eventually making their way to the United States with stops in China and Japan. Growing up in Los Angeles, she enjoyed taking ballet classes and she graduated from Beverly Hills High School.

Cookie met her husband Mark Dimant in Los Angeles, where he and his mother had settled after becoming liberated from the Gunskirchen Lager concentration camp. When Mark’s father saw Phyllis, he named her “Takaya Kukla,” which means “such a doll.” Her husband later shortened her name to “Cookie”. Mark and Cookie married in 1956. They were married 56 years when Mark died from prostate cancer.

Shortly after her husband’s obituary ran in the newspaper, Cookie received a note from retired dentist John P. Arnold. Arnold had seen that Mark Dimant was a Jewish survivor of Gunskirchen Lager, a Nazi concentration camp in Austria that was liberated in May of 1945 by the 71st Division of the Army. In 1945, Arnold was a 19-year-old infantry soldier in the 71st Division. After Arnold sent Cookie the note, she called the retired dentist, and they found out that for years, they lived within blocks of each other in Oxnard!

“Who knows? Maybe we passed each other at Albertsons or some other store,” said Diane Arnold, who sat and listened as her husband and Cookie exchanged recollections of a horrific time.

Two men inexorably tied together by war had lived within walking distance of one another in Oxnard. Only after one died did their stories join again. Cookie was sympathetic. She said her husband rarely would talk about his experiences in the Holocaust.

Cookie later donated some of her husband’s belongings from World War II to the Holocaust Museum to make sure the memories are preserved.

Today Cookie enjoys her community at Temple Beth Torah. She attends with her special friend Gerard, who she refers to as her adopted son.

Cookie has three children, nine grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. She enjoys crocheting blankets and donates them to Project Linus. Project Linus is a nationwide charity that provides love, security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill. Oh! and she just made a new friend. “Oreo” Oreo and Cookie go together!

Phyllis "Cookie" Dimant practicing ballet as a young girl
Phyllis “Cookie” Dimoant practicing ballet as a young girl