apr 1, 1944 - Irene's Story


Police came to Jewish families doors and told the Jews that they had less than 24 hours to pack up and be in front of the town hall early the next morning. Leah baked bread for their family and put it in the suitcases. Irene and her family had little money and one day the mayor came to their house and demanded for them to hand over their money. They got put onto horse drawn wagons and the Germans brought the Jews into two brick factories, which were never intended to house any people. In the factories there was no running water, no medicine, and little food. In the middle of the night one day the Germans told all men 16 and over have to follow them, but Irene's mom, Leah, put a blanket over Meyer and Moshe, and said that they weren't going to go with the Germans. The soldiers searched the building for hiding men but they didn't find Moshe and Meyer. Irene had to cut her hair because she was under 16, and it would help prevent lice. The Fogels spent several weeks in a brick factory before the Nazis began deporting Jews on trains without letting the Jews know their final destination. The Fogels got shoved into a cattle car, and took a three day, two night trip. Irene thought that the Nazis were going to take her to a forest and kill her, and that death would be minutes away once the cattle car came to a stop. They arrived at Auschwitz. The men were immediately separated form the women, and Irene had no time to say goodbye to Moshe and Meyer. Irene was also separated from her sister Edit and her mother, but she got to go to the right side with her older sister, Szeren. Iren was tattooed with A6236. Iren, Szeren, and 200 other women were moved into a barrack. Someone told Irene that her family had been cremated and she didn't want it to be true. Then a month later Irene was sent to work in a crematorium, and she had to sift through the possessions of the dead. It hit her that they were actually killed when Irene found her Aunt Lena's shawl. Irene held onto the belongings that she found of her family members, but they eventually disappeared. Irene was one of the last people to see the victims of the crematorium. Irene always heard the sound of the trains that would come and take the dead bodies. Irene knew about her family's fate but refused to accept it. Irene and Szeren were taking on a two week journey in a cattle car to Ravensbruck concentration camp. They had to trudge through cold snow with no warm clothes. Irene and Szeren survived the death march. The prisoners were put into another cattle car and shipped to Neustadt Glewe. Everyone there was infected with lice. In early May the prisoners were instructed to stand in line so that they could be inspected. Szeren was selected for the death truck. Irene was scared to be alone so she stepped forward and said "I am her sister." The guard then said "Ok, you can go to." Irene, Szeren, and other prisoners were put into a locked room until the truck came. It was the end of the day and the truck still hadn't arrived, then the door swung open. Instead of it being a guard, it was a prisoner. The prisoner said "No one is around. Get out of here." The truck never came and the next fews days the guards acted as if they didn't care about the girls who had been marked for extermination. Then on May 8, the prisoners woke up and there were no guards in the towers. The Nazis had abandoned the camp. Within hours Russian soldiers came and gave the prisoners food, and no one complained because they were now free!

Added to timeline:

10 months ago
Survivors of the Holocaust


apr 1, 1944
~ 74 years ago
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