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    Holocaust Memorial Day: The story of Mala Tribich

    By Devorah Roselaar, third year BA Primary Education Student and Vice President of the Jewish Society at MDX

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Creative Commons "Holocaust Memorial” by Patrick Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0


    Six months ago I was standing in Auschwitz-Birkenau along with over 11 thousand other people commemorating the six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust.

    Six months ago was Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day- Yom hazikaron la’Shoam V’lagvurah- a day of remembrance for the holocaust and its heroism.

    It marked 72 years since the end of holocaust. However, it was not the end for some. It was the beginning. It was the beginning of a new life. A new family and a new identity. The Nazi’s took everything.

    They kicked people out of their houses, split families up, took their belongings and sent them miles away. Many of them died while being transported on long journeys, some of them lasting up to a week without food and water.

    "Creative Commons Holocaust Memorial” by Patrick Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0And then when they thought the Nazis couldn’t take any more, they took the clothes they were wearing, the hair from their heads and even their names. They took them like sheep to the slaughter.

    70 years ago the holocaust happened. In less than 70 years’ time there will be no Holocaust survivors left and so it is our job to carry on their legacy and give over their testimonies.

    I am a witness to a witness and can therefore tell the story of Mala Tribich, a survivor who I had the privilege of standing with in Auschwitz six months ago, so that what happened to her and her family is never forgotten.

    She was born in 1930 and lived a normal childhood with her older brother and younger sister until the 1st of September 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. At this point she was eight years old.

    Her home town Piotrkow-Trybunalski was quickly over run and turned into a ghetto. As both her father and brother had work permits they were still able to work, however her mother and sister did not so they had to hide.

    To keep Mala safe, she and a cousin were sent to hide with a Polish family in a nearby town. Her cousin became homesick so went on her own to hide with other friends. When the deportations had finished in her town Mala went back to her family.

    Upon arriving her uncle asked where his daughter was. Thus, realising the she clearly had not made it to her friends. That was the last they saw of her.

    At this point they were all reunited in the small ghetto of 2,400 people. However, soon afterwards the police burst in and rounded up everyone once again, but Mala pretended to be ill and did not get taken.

    Her mother and sister were. They were shot a few days later.

    As the last female in her family still alive, Mala looked after her cousin Ann who was five. A few weeks later, another selection happened and they were again lined up.

    Mala and Ann were separated from her father and brother, who had work permits, but she decided to ask the guard to go with them and after much pleading they said yes.

    "Creative Commons Holocaust Memorial” by Patrick Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0She had to beg for her cousin too but finally they let her and they went back to the ghetto to join her father and brother.

    Finally, they got sent to labour camps where she worked in a plywood factory. She got lucky and was with her father. Men and woman lived separately, but between her and the other woman in her bunk they worked different shifts so there was always someone to look after Ann.

    Later, her father and brother were sent to Buchenwald while the women were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp after four and a half days travel. Here they were stripped of their identity and numbered, becoming unrecognisable.

    In February 1945, they were sent to Bergon- Belsen where the conditions were absolutely terrible. Food was almost non-existent. Mala found the children’s bunk and went there. She had the bunk bed near the window.

    Unfortunately, she came down with typhus and was extremely ill. One day she saw people running towards the gate and wondered how they could run.

    This was her camp being liberated! On the 15th of April 1945 -liberation, she was sent to a children’s hospital to recover and get nursed back to health. The soldiers entertained them to remind them what it was like to smile and enjoy themselves.

    After she recovered she was sent to Sweden but soon discovered her brother was still alive in England so went to join him. She leant English, got a job and while attending many social events she met her husband. Mala got married in 1950 and now has two children and three grandchildren.

    If was not until 20 years ago that she started to tell her story. Now she travels all over the country talking to schools about what happened to her and her family.

    It is stories like this which cannot be forgotten, and it is important that although these events slip away with time, the wounds will never be totally healed.

    I want to end by reading this letter which describes the pain parents had to go through for only what they hoped was the safety of their children.Holocaust Memorial Day

    Creative Commons "Holocaust Memorial” by Patrick Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    It is 73 years since the Reb Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp. It is a day for us to remember the millions of people who died just because they were Jewish or just because they were disabled.

    We also need to take a moment to be thankful to all those that hid Jewish people and risked their lived for others. No matter whom you are or what you believe in you should not be killed just because you are different, every person is different, no two people are the same.

    We all add things to society. A community is made up of many different people and each one has a vital role to play, everyone is needed.

    Student lifestyle posts which reflect the interests of our students are written by student interns or writers working within the Marketing department and do not reflect the research, guidance or opinions of Middlesex University. If you have feedback or want to suggest ideas for future student lifestyle posts, please email communications@mdx.ac.uk

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