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Tue Jan 28, 2020, 01:27 AM

'I see it as a chance to finally say goodbye': Auschwitz survivors tell their stories

Five survivors of Auschwitz, one of whom is returning for the first time since her incarceration, have told their stories to the Guardian to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp, which is being commemorated on Monday.

Aged in their late 80s to mid-90s, they are among the last of a few hundred remaining survivors, and told their stories from their homes in Melbourne, Montreal, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Esslingen, Switzerland.

Catalina Adam: ‘I’m anxious about the trip, but I feel a responsibility beyond myself’

Catalina Adam, 88, from Piscolt, Romania, was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944. She was being held in Ober-Hohenelbe forced labour camp when it was liberated from the Nazis in May 1945. She lives in Berlin. It will be the first time she has returned to Auschwitz since her imprisonment.

I’m from a small village in Romania, where about four or five of the families were Jewish, a mix of Romanians and Hungarians. My parents had a mill, and we grew wheat and maize which we turned into flour, as well as sunflowers, which we turned into oil with a press, which was very popular in the area. There was four years of schooling offered for the girls, and 12 for the boys. I told my father when I was 13 that I wanted to study and rather than giving a dowry to my husband’s family, as was the practice, I wanted to invest it in education. My father was happy about it. In the meantime, I trained as a florist. I had dreamed of becoming a pianist or a doctor, but Auschwitz got in the way of all of that.

At home we spoke both Romanian and Hungarian. We weren’t orthodox Jews, but we did celebrate the festival days and enjoyed them, and went to the synagogue.


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Reply 'I see it as a chance to finally say goodbye': Auschwitz survivors tell their stories (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Jan 28 OP
JoeOtterbein Jan 28 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Tue Jan 28, 2020, 01:35 AM

1. K n R


Thanks for posting.


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