According to the Alabama Holocaust Education Center, two sisters who survived the Holocaust and fulfilled their father’s dream of reaching the United States died days apart in Alabama.
After the war, the sisters emigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Birmingham. The sisters remained close friends and shared their experiences with people across the state.
In a post announcing her death, AHEC said, “Ilse was one of the first Holocaust survivors in Birmingham to share her survival story with students.
“Ruth was blessed and cursed with her ability to recall almost everything, including the horrors of wartime and the loss of loved ones,” said the Center. Nevertheless, she began sharing her personal testimony as early as 1951. She spoke frequently to students and touched the lives of thousands,” added the Center.
The Jewish sisters were born in Germany and lived with their parents until 1939. Ilse and Ruth, along with their mother, Helen, join their father, Jacob, who fled to Holland after Kristallnacht.
In January 1944, Jakob was arrested for not removing his hat in front of a German officer, and the family decided to stay together and was sent to a concentration camp for his father’s crimes. He was eventually interned in Auschwitz-Birkenau No. 2 camp. When they last saw their father, he gave them the address of their cousin in America.
After being freed by the Russians, the sisters eventually returned to Holland. “Remembering their father’s wish to immigrate to America, the sisters reached out to the family,” AHEC said. She emigrated to the United States in July 1946.
Both women were widows before their deaths. Ruth had three children with her and Ilse had two.
Ruth went on to write a memoir of her experiences here, dedicating herself “to my children and grandchildren, that the suffering I endured, along with millions of others, may never be forgotten.” I wrote it specifically.