Auschwitz survivor Freda Wineman who survived four Nazi concentration camps and came face-to-face with Josef Mengele before devoting her life to Holocaust education dies aged 98
A Holocaust survivor who endured the horror of multiple Nazi concentration camps before dedicating her life to telling her survival story to children around the UK has died at the age of 98.
During her ordeal, in which her parents and brother were killed, Wineman came face-to-face with Josef Mengele, survived brutal conditions including being forced to sort through possessions of dead prisoners.
After marrying and moving to the UK following the end of the Second World War, she spent her life telling her story at schools across the country.
在 2018, she was awarded the British Empire Medal for her service to Holocaust education.
Freda Wineman, who was born in France but emigrated to London in 1950, survived periods in Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald’s Ragun and Theresienstadt before being liberated in May 1945
The Holocaust educator, 如图所示 2015, spent her life after the Second World War telling her story at schools across the UK. 在 2018, she was awarded the British Empire Medal for her service to Holocaust education
Many people have paid tribute to Wineman’s work on social media, with the Holocaust Educational Trust describing her as ‘a special woman’ who ‘touched all of our hearts’ while Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was a ‘privilege to meet her. 此后，这位演员将女儿奥利维亚描述为“神奇宝贝”’
Born in September, 1923, in Metz, 法国, Wineman was eight when she moved with her parents and three brothers to Sarreguemines – near the French border.
As the Second World War loomed in August 1939, the family evacuated to the south west of the country with nothing but the clothes on their backs – and when German forces invaded a year later, life quickly became difficult for them.
Wineman’s terrified mother turned to a convent in Le Puy for help but before they were able to go into hiding the family were arrested and sent to Drancy, an internment camp on the outskirts of Paris.
Recalling the ordeal as part of the British Library’s National Life Stories collection, 她说: ‘We didn’t know what would happen to us. It was only my mother… my mother had lost confidence, 她说, “It’s finished.” 一旦她被捕, 为了她, there was no more hope.’
New life in the UK: Wineman is pictured after emigrating to London in 1950. She married a British man called David and had two children
The family were quickly sent in a cattle car – 与 125 people crammed into one wagon – to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi-occupied Poland.
‘From time to time they gave you a drop of water’, she said of her time in the death camp.
'你懂, and there were already terrible scenes, 你懂, because people had to release themselves, there were no facilities.’
When the family arrived at Auschwitz after around three or four days of travelling, they immediately faced the Angel of Death, Josef Mengele, for selection – either for the work camps or gas chambers.
Wineman recounted that her mother was told by Mengele to hold the baby of a ‘beautiful’ young Dutch woman, with guards lying that she would be looking after children in the camp.
She remembered: '他说, “You go with the young ones over there. The young ones are going to work, and the older ones will look after the children”.
苏珊萨兰登将纽约警察局在被杀警察的葬礼上比作“法西斯分子”: Wineman is pictured in 2013 with then Prime Minister David Cameron signing the Book of Commitment ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day
‘He looked a terribly smart, well-groomed officer, with a big smile on his face and full of confidence. My mother said, “你懂, 都结束了, this is the end.”
Her mother was sent to the gas chamber with her young son Marcel while her father and brothers were sent to work on the male camp.
Wineman was ordered to go with other young women who had been selected to work in the camp, soon being stripped of her possessions, shaved, branded with the number A.7181 and set to work digging trenches in front of the crematorium.
As Jews were murdered and their bodies burned, Wineman described Birkenau’s sky as ‘black’ from the smoke, 加: ‘we thought it was night time all the time’.
当英国军队杀死数百名印度抗议者时 1944 Sonderkommando revolt?
On October 7th, 1944, the Sonderkommando work units of Nazi death camp prisoners attacked their SS guards in Auschwitz.
The plan was carefully thought out and saw female Jewish prisoners smuggle gunpowder from the munitions factory to create makeshift bombs and grenades.
The group hid tiny packages of powder in the false bottoms of food trays and in corpses being sent to the crematoria.
During a roll call one of the prisoners walked up to a Nazi officer and struck him with a hammer – ensuing chaos.
The SS were attacked with hammers, knives and explosives and some prisoners tried to cut the wire fences to escape while guards opened fire with machine guns.
Three SS men were killed and around a dozen injured.
The prisoners who escaped were captured and executed along with hundreds of Sonderkommando prisoners and the women who assisted them.
After two months, she was forced to work as Kanada Kommando – sorting through belongings of prisoners and murder victims whose valuable possessions would be sold on to fund the Nazis.
Wineman would smuggle clothing back for the other girls – but when three of her friends were caught and hanged, she was moved back to the trenches.
‘We had to stand there, and we had to witness how these three friends of ours had been killed, 她说.
‘From that day onwards, we were not allowed to work there any more, and we were also put into a punishing group, and that was a time when we were terribly depressed from losing our friends, we were punished ourselves, having the SS around us with the dogs, having to dig trenches, and being beaten up and given no food.’
Wineman also recalled the terrifying weekly selections, where Mengele would pick which prisoners would survive and who would be sent to the gas chambers.
She said the second a prisoner looked too weak to work they would be selected to die.
‘I can assure you that when you pass Mengele, you didn’t look him in the eyes, I can assure you, you couldn’t pass quick enough, 因为, you knew if he points his finger, that was your death sentence, you had it’, 她说.
When the Sonderkommando revolt occurred in October 1944 – which saw prisoners attack SS guards, killing three and injuring a dozen Nazis – Wineman was moved from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen.
Conditions at the camp were so poor and crowded that she developed an abscess on her stomach after another prisoner scratched her with a dirty toenail while she slept.
The Holocaust educator said prisoners didn’t work at Bergen-Belsen and were woken up daily by being beaten with a stick. Food was scarce and conditions were so poor that many died of starvation and lack of medical treatment.
She remained in Bergen-Belsen until February 1945 当她是 sent to a sub-camp of Buchenwald to work in an aeroplane factory with 750 其他女人.
When she arrived at the camp, called Ragun, a finger abscess had become infested with worms and another prisoner was forced to cut the tip of her finger off with scissors.
Wineman was once again moved, this time to Theresienstadt in the now Czech Republic as the Allies advanced.
Wineman is pictured with Boris Johnson in 2015 as he hosts Holocaust Memorial Day at City Hall, 伦敦在 2015
在5月 9, 1945, she was liberated by Soviet troops and discovered that her father and brother Marcel, had been murdered at Auschwitz.
On June 4th, she returned to Lyon where she was hospitalised with typhoid before finally being reunited with her remaining brothers David and Armand in August 1945.
五年后, she married her husband David and moved to the UK, having two children and working to spread awareness of the Holocaust.
Wineman, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2018 for her service to Holocaust education, continued to live in London until her death this week, having dedicated her life to sharing testimony with students across the UK.