b. Uzhorod, Czechoslovakia (became Ungvár, Hungary), 1928
In the concentration camps, my mother was our “psychologist.” Time after time, she tried to cheer us up.
She told my sisters and me, “Girls, after we get home, I'll cook and bake for you like I used to.”
“Don't give up, ” she said.
She seemed to carry an invisible torch of hope.
Even toward the end, when we were weak and sick, she still tried to boost our morale.
She would say, “Girls, after the war we will go to America.”
Once I turned to her and said, “Mother, how can you say that? Look at us, look at yourself, we'll never get out of here alive.”
My mother and my oldest sister Margaret died after the Russian Army liberated us. I was sure I was not to live, not to survive either—I would die, too.
As it happened, my other three sisters and I barely survived. We weighed sixty to sixty-five pounds—we had typhus, all of us, and were unable to walk.
So my mother's wish did not come true for her, but four of her daughters did make it to America.
I often wonder if my mother really believed that there was hope—or did she just want us not to give up? If she had survived, I would ask her this question.