Surviving Auschwitz

Aunt Yvonne's Selection

"She was a ballet teacher..."

"I didn’t even know we were Jewish until after World War Two. I—I had no idea. My father lost his brother, who couldn’t come with us because he was not an American citizen or a relative of one. He was killed in Auschwitz, and then my Aunt Yvonne, who was my aunt on my mother’s side, was also captured and taken to Auschwitz, but luckily, she came out.

She was a ballet teacher, dance teacher, and she had a studio in one of the nice buildings of Paris, and when she left, she had to leave that behind when she went to—the Riviera, as Americans call it. We call it Provence.

She went through the selection process, and they wanted to send her to the right, but she wanted to go with her friend who went to the left. Her friend was sort of frail and not very healthy looking, but Yvonne, being—you know—a ballet dancer and in great shape, they said 'We want you to the right because you can work for a while.' And that’s how she escaped death."