Survivor inspires the Scots

November 24, 2016 23:19

New Yorker Inge Auerbacher brought a story of tragedy and hope to Scotland for a series of HMD events.

Ms Auerbacher was the last Jew born in Kippenheim, a German village at the foot of the Black Forest, close to the French and Swiss borders. Her father received an Iron Cross for his German military service in the First World War.

In August 1942, she and her parents were transported to Theresienstadt, which they survived. On returning to Germany, they discovered that at least 13 close relatives had been slaughtered by the Nazis, as well as many extended family members.

The Auerbachers moved to America in 1946 where she was stricken by a deadly disease caused by years of malnutrition and was hospitalised for two years. But she went on to forge a career as a chemist working with prominent scientists.

Silent about her Holocaust experiences until 1981, she has since lectured widely and is featured in documentaries which have been shown around the world.

Hosted on her visit by Interfaith Scotland, Ms Auerbacher featured in the main Scottish HMD ceremony in Falkirk and a Glasgow Reform civic service for which cheder pupils had reserached Holocaust stories, including her own. It was only when her story was read out that Rabbi Kate Briggs revealed that Ms Auerbacher was among the congregation and she gave an impromptu address.

She also made an emotional visit to Polmont young offenders institution in Falkirk, where inmates had researched and staged a major Shoah exhibition. Drawing on her own experiences of confinement, she expressed empathy with them, embracing each inmate as they returned to their cells.

"Such an outpouring of pure human love was both moving and beautiful," said Scottish Jewish Representative Council president Paul Morron.

November 24, 2016 23:19

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