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NORTHERN GERMANY


fi ghting during World War I. Siegler and her family were at T eresienstadt from January


1944 until May before being moved again. “T ere were two transport trains leſt to Auschwitz,” Siegler


said. “Of course we didn’t know, and we were on the second to last transport being sent out to [Auschwitz II] Birkenau.” T e transport cattle train, packed with prisoners both


young and old, only stopped for water once or twice and had a makeshiſt bathroom in the corner of the train. Siegler said she remembers being so embarrassed and she had


her mother or sister stand in front of her so that no one would see.


“If you’re brought up that way it never leaves you,” she said.


“However you were brought up, I would say the fi rst six years or whatever years, they’re such impressive years and I must have had a lot of love. I believe fi rmly that somehow if you have some love from the family and love around you, it stays with you.” T e iron gate adorned with the phrase “Arbeit macht frei,”


German for “work will make you free,” greeted the Scheuler family upon their arrival at Auschwitz II Birkenau. Aſt er entering the camp, the family was separated into groups by the S.S. offi cers. “You were herded like sheep,” Siegler said. “You didn’t dare


open your mouth. T ere were dogs around us and all the S.S. yelling. We had to put everything on a mound next to the building, our belongings, our suitcase, even glasses — anything that was not tied to your body. “My mother, she had some gold teeth in her mouth, and they


told her to keep her mouth closed because if they saw the gold she would be sent to the gas chamber. T ey could pick you up right away to get the gold out.” T e S.S. offi cers forced the girls to undress, gave them a towel


and sent them into a room called the Zonar to be disinfected. “I saw the round shower heads above us, but they never


turned the water on or anything,” Siegler said. “T ey opened the doors and let us out the back.” Siegler, her sister and mother were given striped clothing and


sent to a compound with other prisoners who had arrived from T eresienstadt. T e women were separated from their father and brother by a mound of dirt. Siegler said she doesn’t remember ever seeing her brother


aſt er this point. From May to July, prisoners from ages 16 to 45 had to report to a barrack early in the morning each day to be counted. Siegler, who was 16 at the time, always said she was older in order to stay with the family. “At Auschwitz, we had to stand at attention all the time,”


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