A Miracle of Holocaust Survival
by Edith Luca Pagelson
Edith’s father was a decorated hero of WWI. Together with her mother Flora and younger sister Suse the family lived in Worms, Germany-a center of Jewish culture, education, and enlightenment for 1,000 years. When the Nazis came to power, Jewish students like Edith were forbidden to attend public school. The 900-year old synagogue the family attended was burned and their family business/apartment destroyed on Kristallnacht (The Night of Shattered Glass), 10 November 1938. Her parents attempted to send Edith and Suse out of the country. Suse made it to England, but Edith did not escape. In the Theresienstadt concentration camp, Edith witnessed the spectacular farce the Nazi’s orchestrated to fool the International Red Cross. Edith’s father did not survive Theresienstadt, but she and her mother Flora were sent on a Stygian odyssey through Nazi Europe: to Birkenau, to Auschwitz, to Stuthoff. From concentration camp to death camp to labor camps, they faced horror and miracles for 3 ½ years: the “Angel of Death” Dr. Josef Mengele, the gas chambers of Auschwitz, slave labor, cruelty, apathy, and despair. They drew the strength to survive from each other and the moments of unexpected kindness.
Edith and Flora were reunited with Suse in America, but life continued to bring Edith new challenges, tragedies, and blessings.
This is the personal story of a young girl caught up in events beyond human conception, of the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter, of indomitable faith, of horror and survival, and of triumph against all odds.