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Margot Heumann

Hellenthal, Germany

The older of two girls, Margot was born to Jewish parents living in a village close to the Belgian border. The Heumanns lived above their general store. Across the street lived Margot's grandfather, who kept horses and cows in his large barn. When Margot was 4, her family moved to the city of Lippstadt. As a young girl, she learned to swim in the Lippe River, which flowed behind their garden.

1933-39: When I was 9, we moved to the nearby city of Bielefeld, where I was enrolled in public school. A year later, my little sister, Lore, and I were expelled from school. All of a sudden, we were kicked out of class, and not understanding why, we just stood outside crying. Then we walked home. After this, my parents sent us to a Jewish school where we had teachers, who, like us, had been kicked out of the schools by the Nazis.

1940-44: I was 14 when my family and I were deported, and 16 when we ended up in Auschwitz. One day, I was ordered onto a convoy and knew that I wouldn't come back. My mother had the option to go with me or stay with my sister, who was too young to go, and since she felt that my sister needed her more than I, she stayed. I remember hugging my mother goodbye. She used to be a heavy woman, but by then she was all skin and bones. Not knowing any better, I ate her soup, her only food for the day, which she insisted that I take.

Margot never saw her parents and sister again. She wasliberated at Bergen-Belsen in April, 1945. The Red Cross brought her to Sweden to recuperate, and in 1947 she moved to America.

 

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