Survivors' Stories

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

Edith Zehava Unger

  • 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 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.