Survivors' Stories

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Edith Zahava Ungar

  • From: Czechoslovakia/Hungary (Brit-Carpathian Mountains)
  • Liberated from: Czechoslovakia (Therezienstadt)
  • Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from: Czechoslovakia (Ungvar)
  • Current Location: USA (NY- Brooklyn)

Brief Bio

I grew up in Nachod, Czech Republic, where I have my happiest childhood memories. We had wonderful friends and neighbors, Jewish and non-Jewish, and belonged to a tight-knit Jewish community. In November/December 1939 we were expelled from Nachod. We moved to Ungvar, missing our Kindertransport by 2 weeks. As refugees our living situation became difficult. In 1940/41, my father was taken to labor camps for weeks at a time, until 1942, when he never returned. In April 1944 we spent a month in the ghetto; then were taken on that terrible cattle-car, where my baby brother kept begging for bread with butter, to Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Birkenau. My mother and brothers were gassed immediately. The last thing my mother told me was to say I am 16, which I said to Mengele, sparing my life. Birkenau consisted mainly of tzel-appels and selections. At one selection my sister was taken. At another a Nazi woman secretly pushed me to the right. {This is one of my proofs that in every nation, among the worst of the worst are some good people.} This selection sent me to a work camp with better conditions. Two weeks before liberation we were transported to Theresienstadt. After liberation, I made it to Israel where I found one brother. Israel provided 2 years of partial education; after I lived on a kibbutz. I joined the Israeli Army. Soon after I met my husband, also a survivor, and we raised our family of 6 children together. We eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York. 35 years ago I lost my husband; he was murdered during a robbery of his business. Now I live on my own, surrounded by my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

What does Auschwitz mean to you? 

A cemetery of my whole family. 

My message for future generations is… 

It is important that future generations should know what happened, it should never happen again. I can forgive and forget for what happened to me, but I cannot for those perished על אלה אני בוכיה For these I weep. 

Who will be accompanying you on this journey? 

Estie Goldberger my youngest daughter, she lives in Montreal Canada.