Every story of survival at Auschwitz is extraordinary, but Gena Turgel’s is one of the most astonishing.
She was only 16 years old when her hometown of Krakow was bombed on the first day of WWII on Sept. 1, 1939. Her brothers were killed in the Jewish ghetto fighting the Nazis.
After her capture, she was sent to the first of three concentration camps where she was subjected to horrifying torture.
The Nazis attempted to kill her many times. The most notorious attempt of all, according to NBC, happened in Auschwitz-Birkeanau, when she was herded naked into a gas chamber with hundreds of others. What happened next was nothing short than a miracle. Turgel, who was 21 at the time, walked out alive.
Turgel had no idea what was happening her until a woman she knew said, “Don’t you know what has just happened to you? You were in the gas chamber!”
“I wear a lot of perfume,” she whispers. “The stench of the camps will always stay with me and I try to block it out,” the 90-year-old told NBC.
“When I think back, I have to pinch myself sometimes to see if I’m really alive,”
Turgel still looks amazed to have cheated death, and is determined to speak today, to try to ensure that Jews never again face the same threats. Watch her interview with NBC below.
“Those people were real. They were mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, doctors and teachers, poets, wonderful people. Composers. And now they scream in silence,” she says. “My story is only one story, but it is the story six million others cannot tell. I was, and always shall be, the witness to … mass murder.” – Gena Turgel.
What do you think? How did her story make you feel? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.
h/t: NBC News.