Vol. 12


The Miracles of Reizel Fuchs

1939–1945; Lodz, Poland; Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Germany

My great-grandmother Reizel Fuchs was born in May 1923 in the city of Pabiance, in Poland. She had five siblings. Reizel grew up in a wealthy family, and her childhood was very happy. Her father, Yosse, was a city councilman and owned a large factory. Her mother, Rachel, was a very educated and respectable woman. Reizel and her family were very religious, and they were well respected in the community.

In September 1939, World War II started. The Nazis turned the synagogue into a horse stable. They made all the Jews work — making uniforms and fixing shoes for the Nazi soldiers. The children were separated from their parents. Five thousand Jews were sent to the Lodz Ghetto — including my great-grandmother. After the Jews finished working, the Nazis would make “selections.” These selections were terrible experiences for the Jews. The Nazis would kill people who looked weak, every single day. Reizel’s brother Label was killed during one of these selections. Her brother Beral was sent to a different camp.

To help themselves, they used to collect wheat from the bottom of the Nazis’ shoes and from the garbage to try to make food and rolls for the Sabbath. Reizel tried to save a young girl by doing her hair and making her more “put together” so she wouldn’t be picked during one of the selections to die.

Towards the end of the war, Reizel was sent to a concentration camp, called Bergen-Belsen, to work. Reizel and ten other girls tried to run away, but they were caught and taken to a pit to be shot. But then a miracle happened. Just as the Nazi soldier was about to shoot, he stepped on a glass bottle and needed to be taken to the hospital. The girls were supposed to be shot the next day, but another miracle occurred: The camp was liberated!

The only survivors in Reizel’s family were Reizel and her brother Beral. Sometime later, Reizel Fuchs met her husband and got married. They moved to Israel and had three children, fourteen grandchildren, and forty-six great-grandchildren.

My great-grandmother Reizel Fuchs is a nice and kind lady. I am so happy that she lived through the war and is still alive. It was hard for her, but she was able to live through the hard times, and then experience the miracles that saved her.

Sari Merdinger; New York, USA



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