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NORTHERN GERMANY


O 22| ALPINE LIVING 2011


n Sept. 3, 1939,


the war broke out between


Germany and England and they were stuck. Over the next few years until 1942, Siegler and her family stayed in the Netherlands and attended school and visited their father at Westerbork.


Above: Ruth Siegler stands in front of family portraits at her home in Birmingham, Ala. Right: The barbed wire fences of Dachau close in the camp. When the camp was in use, these fences were electrically charged to discourage escape; however, many prisoners used them to commit suicide.


When Hitler came to the Netherlands in 1942, Jews


were gathered in Amsterdam and sent by the thousands to Westerbork, a self-sustained concentration camp, every Tuesday morning. Siegler’s father told the family if they did not come to the


camp by their own free will, they would be picked up and taken away to the unknown. T e rest of the family voluntarily joined their father in the camp that year. At 15, while at the camp, Siegler worked as a maid in the


home of a man and his family who worked in the agriculture department of Westerbork. “We had food because my father had connections to the


kitchen, and my mother could stay in a little room with my father in the barracks they had for married couples,” Siegler


said. “In the little room, there was a pot so my mother could cook for us soup and potatoes, whatever we had. You tried to organize and do whatever you could.” One day in 1944, Siegler’s brother, Ernst, was arrested for


not removing his beret in front of a young German S.S. and was slated for transport the next Monday. “My father said if one goes we all go,” Siegler said. “He always


was that way. He wanted to keep us together.” T e family boarded a pasture train with other prisoners


and was sent to T eresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, a camp preferred by prisoners because the Red Cross was required to inspect the camp. T e Scheuer family was sent to the Czech camp because her father received an Iron Cross from the German Army for


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