‘The Nazis did not win!’ Lily Ebert becomes great-great-grandmother aged 100

The Shoah survivor and her family are celebrating five generations of Jewish life this week


Lily Ebert pictured cradling the new addition to her family (Photos: Dov Forman)

Auschwitz survivor Lily Ebert is celebrating “five generations of Jewish life” after becoming a great-great-grandmother at the age of 100.

The Hungarian-born British writer who “never expected to survive the Holocaust”, let alone have a family and watch it grow over the generations, welcomed her first great-great-grandchild, a baby boy, to the world this week.

Posting two images on X/Twitter of Ebert with the new addition to her family, her great-grandson Dov Forman wrote: “This week, my great-grandma, Lily Ebert, a 100-year-old Auschwitz survivor, became a great-great-grandma. [She said:] ‘I never expected to survive the Holocaust. Now I have five beautiful generations. The Nazis did not win!’ From near-death at Auschwitz to five generations of Jewish life.”

In the photos, Ebert, who marked her centenary on 29 December, can be seen beaming as she cradles the new baby, supported by other family members.

Attending the brit millah, an “emotional” Ebert gave a “moving” speech expressing her joy at living to meet the first in a new generation of her family.

"The whole family are excited my great-grandmother was able to meet him, it was very special for her,” Forman said. “She gave a speech at the brit which was very moving, she was so emotional.”

Born in Bonyhád in 1923, Ebert was the eldest daughter in a family of six children. In July 1944, after the Nazis invaded Hungary, Ebert, then aged 20, was deported to Auschwitz along with her mother Nina, brother Bela and three sisters, Berta, Renee and Piri. Nina, Bela and Berta were immediately sent to the gas chambers whilst Lily, Renee and Piri were selected for work in the camp.

Four months after arriving in the camp, the three sisters were transferred to a munitions factory near Leipzig in Germany where they worked until liberation by Allied forces in 1945.

After she was liberated, Ebert travelled with her surviving sisters to Switzerland, and in 1953 she was reunited with her eldest brother, who had survived the Nazi camp system, and the family relocated to Israel. Ebert and her husband Samuel moved to London with their three children in 1967.

She has devoted the past 70 years to Holocaust education but in 2022 gained greater prominence with the publication of her memoir, co-written with Forman, Lily’s Promise.

Last year, she was awarded an MBE by King Charles for services to Holocaust Education. The King was also among the many well-wishers to offer her birthday greetings when she turned 100, sending her a letter and a bouquet of flowers.

The letter acknowledged the “terrible suffering” Ebert and her family endured and praised the educator for making it her “life’s work” to “remind our generation of the depths of depravity and evil to which humankind can descend, when reason, humanity and truth are abandoned”.

The King added: “By continuing to remind the world of the unimaginable atrocities which you witnessed, you have lived your life positively, with true nobility and without hatred, in a way that is an example to us all.

“Your extraordinary strength of spirit, resilience and courage is admired more than I can possibly say.”

Since the publication of her book, Ebert has amassed a large social media fanbase with more than two million followers on TikTok.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive