I found myself recently standing on the platform at City Thameslink in London, watching hordes of passengers coming off an overcrowded train, wondering which of them would have survived were this train terminating at Auschwitz in WWII.
Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust was launched on ASR on 20th January, and I had been pouring over interviews to find appropriate examples for the press release. Having just celebrated my 31st birthday, I was particularly haunted by Edith Birkin’s account of arriving at Auschwitz. On arrival, the young fit ones were separated out for work parties, small children and older prisoners and sent to the gas chambers.
Birkin says: “I made myself big and tall and strong, soon realised you know it was probably wise to do… I think anybody over twenty had it, you know, because they didn't need that many for work. So, from what I remember, nobody was over thirty; I never met anybody over thirty after that."