Eva was conceived in a concentration camp. Shortly after her father, Berndt, was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and though her mother, Anka, followed, she never got the chance to see him again or tell him that she was pregnant. Eva was born on a cart at the Mauthausen concentration camp April 29, 1945 weighing just 3lbs. She would have been sent to the gas chamber, along with her mother, had the Americans not liberated Mauthausen just days after her birth.
Anka returned to Prague with Eva and re-married in February 1948 before emigrating to the UK. In 1968, Eva married an academic lawyer, has two sons and has been living in Cambridge ever since.
MARTIN BENNET, 1925-2016
Martin was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau aged just 15. He told the German soldiers that he was older and a skilled cabinet maker so that he could be sent out to work and avoid being sent to the gas chambers.
After the war, Martin learned that the rest of his family had not survived. He came to Britain in 1947 where he met his wife, Priscilla. He worked for a tailor, but eventually he and Priscilla bought their own clothes shop. They were married for more than 60 years and have two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Martin passed away on January 21, 2016.
FREDDIE KNOLLER, BEM
Freddie worked in Paris using false papers to take German soldiers to nightclubs and brothels. A broken love affair led to his betrayal and arrest and he was tortured before being sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943 and then on to Bergen-Belsen.
In 1947, he emigrated to the US where he met an English woman, they married, moved to Britain and had two daughters. Freddie never spoke of the horrors he saw, but re-lived them in his nightmares for 35 years. One night, his two daughters finally persuaded him to speak about what had happened and from that night on his nightmares stopped.
GENA TURGEL, 1923-2018
When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Gena’s family was ordered to give up all their belongings and move to the Kraków ghetto. She witnessed many members of her family get shot and was part of the last forced march from Płaszów to Auschwitz-Birkenau and the "death march" to Buchenwald. She was finally sent to Bergen-Belsen, where she nursed a dying Anne Frank (Anne Frank’s Diaries).
She was known as the bride of Belsen after marrying Norman Turgel, one of the soldiers who liberated her from Bergen-Belsen. Her wedding dress was made from a British Army parachute. Gena died June 7, 2018.
VAL GINSBURG, 1922-2011
Val grew up in Lithuania, a tiny country caught between Nazi Germany in the West and Communist Russia in the East. After the Nazi invasion, his family were forced in to the Kaunas ghetto. Of the ghetto’s 35,000 Jewish population only 2,000 survived.
Val spent six months in hospital, where he met his future wife Ibi and they embarked on a new life in England in October 1948. They spent their working lives in the textile industry in West Yorkshire where they brought up their two children. Val and Ibi remained a devoted couple for over 60 years. Val died in 2011.
IBI GINSBURG, 1924-2010
Ibi grew up in Hungary and was made to wear a yellow star and live in a ghetto before being taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ibi and her sister Judith were taken to a different part of the camp to the rest of their family. Her mother and younger sisters were taken straight to the gas chambers.
Ibi, her father and sister survived the war. After her liberation she worked in the hospital administration where she met Val. In the knowledge that so many of their friends and family had died, they took up an invitation from Val’s cousin in 1948, to move to England and work in the textile industry. Ibi passed away February 19, 2010.
HARRY BIBRING, 1925-2019
Harry Bibring was born in Vienna. In November 1938, his father's business was destroyed during Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass), and he was arrested soon after. Harry's parents arranged for him and his sister to flee to the UK, where they would be sponsored by a family friend. Harry corresponded with his parents until their deaths early on in the war.
He worked as a mechanic's apprentice until the end of the war and in May 1945 met his wife. He went to night school to become a professional engineer and during this time he had a son. Harry died January 7, 2019.
HARRY FOX, 1930-2012
After the Nazi invasion of Poland, half of Harry’s town were deported to the Piotrków ghetto. Harry, his father and brother had work permits which allowed them to stay in the ghetto, but his mother and sister were deported to Treblinka where they died.
Harry’s father died in a concentration camp and Harry was sent on a Death March to Czechoslovakia, where he was liberated by the Russian army on 8th May 1945. He came to England following the war and went on to marry and have four children and grandchildren. He died August 25, 2012.
MALA TRIBICH, MBE
Mala’s family were forced in to a ghetto in her hometown, Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland. Her family sent her and her cousin to stay with a couple to pass as Christian children. Mala returned to the ghetto alone and eventually ended up in Bergen-Belsen. After her liberation she believed all her family to be dead, but was reunited with her brother Ben in England in March 1947.
In 1950, she married Maurice, she had two children and gained a degree in Sociology from the University of London. Today Mala has three grandchildren.
RUDI OPPENHEIMER, 1930-2019
Rudi was living in the Netherlands in 1940 when the Germans invaded. His family had ‘Exchange’ jew status as his sister was born in the UK so when they were deported to Bergen-Belsen they lived in better conditions than other prisoners. But, as the camp became overcrowded, conditions deteriorated and both his parents died. He and his brother were put on a train which was liberated by the Red Army in 1945.
The Oppenheimer siblings came to Britain after the war. Rudi met the Queen during her visit to Bergen Belsen in 2015, and did a lot of work with young people. Rudi died in May 2019.
Born in 1935 in Amsterdam, his father was a well-known lawyer, his mother the daughter of professional musicians who had emigrated to Britain. With the outbreak of war, Steven’s father joined the resistance helping Jews escape in to Switzerland. In 1942, he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was gassed. The rest of the family were eventually sent to Terezín (Theresienstadt) in Czechoslovakia where they were liberated by the Red Army in 1945.
Steven’s mother, fearing that there would be no survivors in the Netherlands, took the family to Britain, where she was reunited with her father and herefamily could rebuild their lives
Toby Biber was born in 1925 in Mielec, Poland. The Jewish community was eventually deported by the Germans in March 1942 and its residents were forced into a nearby forest. Here Toby’s father obtained forged papers for Toby and her sister, allowing them to escape and live in hiding in Krakow, Poland. In the autumn of 1942, Toby and her sister, were moved to the Plaszow forced-labour camp and then deported to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Toby’s sister died eight days after its liberation in April 1945.
After the war, Belsen was used as a displaced persons camp and Toby met and married her husband there, they emigrated to Britain in 1947.
KITTY HART-MOXON, OBE
Kitty was born in 1926, in Bielsko. Following the German invasion, Kitty’s family fled to Lublin. Her father knew it was essential to escape and they obtained false papers. Kitty and her mother went to work in Germany, but were betrayed in 1943 and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 1945, Kitty and her mother were sent on a death march through the Sudeten mountain range. where thousands died from the freezing conditions. In spring, they were sent to Bergen-Belsen, but the train was abandoned en-route and the people inside left to die. Kitty and her mother were lucky to be alive and in 1946 settled in the UK, Kitty married in 1949 and had two sons.
ZIGI SHIPPER, BEM
Zigi was born in 1930 in Łódź, Poland. His parents divorced when he was 5 and he lived with his father and grandparents. In 1940, the family were forced in to the Łódź ghetto and his father fled to the Soviet Union believing his family would be safe, Zigi never saw his father again. In 1942, all children were rounded up for deportation, Zigi escaped and remained in the ghetto. He was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944 and sent to work in a metal factory in Stutthof. He was sent on a death march to Neustadt which was liberated by British troops.
Zigi emigrated to the UK in 1947, where he married and had a family.
Ruth was born in Germany and in 1939, aged four, she was sent to Britain with her older brother. Over the next ten years, they lived in three foster families and a hostel. Her father had fled to Shanghai and her mother, who was not Jewish, took part in the Rosenstraße protest in Berlin in which non-Jewish German women demonstrated about the Gestapos internment of their Jewish husbands.
After the war, Ruth chose to remain in Britain and after finishing university married her Jewish boyfriend. Ruth spent 19 years as a secondary school teacher and a further 28 years as a psychotherapist. She has been married for over 50 years and has three children and two grandchildren.
WALTER KAMMERLING, BEM
Walter was born 1923 in Vienna where he witnessed synagogues, shops, businesses and homes be destroyed. Walter’s parents decided to send him to Britain on the Kindertransport. He was sent to a camp for refugee children and then to a farm in Northern Ireland where he worked for 3 years.
He joined the British Army in March 1944 and whilst on embarkation leave, he married Herta who had also came from Vienna. The couple returned to Austria in 1946 and had two sons, they later moved back to Britain in 1957. Walter lost both his parents and sisters at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
RENEE SALT, BEM
Renee was born in 1929 in Poland, After the German invasion the family were made to live in a ghetto. When the Germans requested the handover of all children under 18, Renee’s mother hid her and her sister under her coat, but her sister was caught and taken away. Renee and her mother were eventually sent to Bergen Belsen. They were liberated in April 1945 but her mother died 12 days later.
Renee returned to her hometown and found a surviving aunt, they moved to Germany and then to Paris, where Renee met Charles who was with the British Army. They married in 1949 and had two children, they moved to the UK and have 5 grandchildren.