Margit Herrmannová

September 1942: Parents deported to Raasika Extermination Camp in Lithuania, they were shot dead there. July 1943: Herself, her husband and her mother-in-law were deported to Terezin, December 1943 to July 1944 Concentration Camp Auschwitz – Birkenau, did forced labor in Hamburg, March 1945 until liberation in April in Bergen-Belsen.

Her husband and 12 other members of her family died.

When I was in Birkenau I carried the latrine buckets in order to earn an extra cup of soup. Later promoted to dishing out the soup, my friend Rita, myself and two other women labored through the deep mud with a 100 l vessel of hot water soup which hung from a wooden pole. margit-herrmannova Always afraid to lose balance and scald our feet. As time passed we got to know all the blocks. The same stench, the same destitute. From the bunks ghost-like faces of old and ill people peered down onto us, hanging like rotting fruit from trellises.

Bergen-Belsen was hell! There was no gas – here people died by themselves.

Liberation by the British.

With our spoils of war – warm blankets, fur-lined pilot’s jackets and tents we made camp in a meadow strewn with drying and decomposing bodies. While erecting our camp we had to climb over the body of a woman, again and again. This did not touch us. We were the exception, she was the rule. Fresh and clean and well fed we spent our first safe night, while a soft April rain was falling. In the morning the dry, sandy ground had completely drained the water. Only in the hollow between the hipbones of the deceased woman, where her womb had been there was a small puddle of water. On her left hipbone there was a small bird, tripping to and fro, and drinking. Suddenly it lifted its dainty wings to fly away.

The bird on that hipbone seemed to be a powerful symbol – Life goes on.

Translator, born May 11, 1921 in Varnsdorf. Remarried after the war, 1 child.

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