Vol. 14


The Lucky Baby

1946; Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Germany; and New York, New York, USA

"The Lucky Baby" illustration by Devyn Shelton: The Statue of Liberty, surrounded by clouds, holds a a baby in her left armAfter World War II ended in 1945, people tried to start a new life. Many people had lost their families and thought they would never be happy again. People who survived the war had nightmares and cried almost every day. Millions of people had been murdered in the war, including little kids and babies.

My grandmother’s parents (Lily and Joe Reich) met after the war and quickly got married. They were very excited to finally start a new life and feel happy after being sad for so long.

Lily and Joe lived in Bergen-Belsen, in Germany, because they had no other place to go after the war ended. Bergen-Belsen had been a concentration camp, but after the war it became a camp for displaced people. Joe and Lily knew that they didn’t want to stay in Bergen-Belsen with all the bad stuff that had happened there.

On May 16, 1946, Joe and Lily had a baby girl — my grandmother! They decided to name her Judi. Judi was the first baby girl born in Bergen-Belsen after the war (a baby boy had been born three days before her).

Judi was a beautiful baby, and her parents were so happy to have her. Everybody in Bergen-Belsen came to see Judi and asked to hold her. Most of the people smiled when they held her, but some of the people would cry. Judi reminded them of all of the children who had died in the war. Everybody called Judi the “lucky baby,” because she brought joy and luck to all the people.

In 1947 Joe, Lily, and Judi looked for a way to leave Germany and get to America. They were ready to start a new life and to make new memories. HIAS1 helped them get money. On October 2, 1947, my grandmother and her parents arrived at Ellis Island by ship. Judi was only eighteen months old and the youngest person on the ship. Joe and Lily could not wait to get their new life started in America. They always told Judi that she brought them luck along their journey. That is how my grandmother Judi became known as the “lucky baby,” and I am lucky to be her granddaughter!

Rachel Turk; New York, USA

Illustrator: Devyn Shelton; Missouri, USA


1. HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, is a nonprofit organization that now provides assistance to refugees of all religions, nationalities, and ethnic origins.



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


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