Two German sisters who survived the horrors of the Holocaust died in Alabama just two weeks apart. They have been a symbol of sistership till and after their demise.
What happened to them? To know further about the two sisters, read more.
Life after liberation camp : How did the two sisters live?
According to the Alabama Holocaust Education Center, they were inseparable after the end of the war. Both of them married fellow survivors in the camp. In 1960, Ruth and Walter Siegler joined Ilse and Walter Nathan in Birmingham which proves their inseparability. Ilse had two children and five grandchildren and Ruth had three children and seven grandchildren. Their bond as sisters is what kept these two families intact. Both of them were widowed before their last breath. Ruth left a memoir for her children and grandchildren with the idea “to my children and grandchildren, so that the suffering I endured, along with millions of others, will never be forgotten.”
“Ilse was one of the first Holocaust survivors in Birmingham to share her story of survival with students,” AHEC said in the post announcing her death.
“Ruth was blessed and cursed with the ability to remember almost everything, including the horrors of her wartime experiences and the losses of those dearest to her,” the center said. “Ruth began sharing her personal testimony as early as 1951, despite the pain that resurfaced with each telling. She frequently spoke to students, touching the lives of thousands,” AHEC added.
What was the cause of death?
Holocaust survivor two sisters died in Alabama with days of each other. On August 23, Ilse died at the age of 98 and on September 3, Ruth passed away at age 95 in Birmingham, Alabama. The cause of death of both the sisters is not known to us, it was probably their old age as well as the strong bond that they share all their life that made them impossible to survive without each other.
The journey of the two sisters have been together whole their life. In fact, it was stated by the women’s biographies kept in the education center that both of the sisters lived within walking distance in Birmingham till their death.
“They were always together,” the education director for the Alabama Holocaust Education Center, Ann Mollengarden alleged, “When Ilse died, I think Ruth was ready.” “After the ties, they developed trying to survive together, I don’t know how you can say they didn’t die together,” Mollengarden added.
A brief background about the two sisters
According to the source, the two sisters, 98 years old Ilse Scheuer Nathan and 95 hears old Ruth Scheuer Siegler born in Germany in the 1920s to Helene and Jacob Scheuer. In around 1939, the two sisters along with their mother Helene went to stay with their father Jacob who fled to Holland. There, in 1944, Jacob got arrested for not removing the cap from his head in front of a German official, and because of the family’s wish to stay together; the whole family was shifted to the camp of liberation. They lost their parents Helene and Jacob and their only brother Ernst in the Nazi death camps.
Days in camp
In the Birkenau camp which is an extension of Auschwitz, the sisters stayed separated, later on, they were shifted to Stutthof, a camp in Poland, and then finally to the Proust in Poland. There they have to clear runways for the German planes.
Days were not easier in the camp. They last met their father at the liberation camp and their mother in early 1944. After being chosen as workers, both of them were the only hope for each other. According to the biography, the girls were assigned to carry bricks from one end of the compound to the other; sometimes they have to work for hours at one go. Ilse sewed uniforms and gun covers. One day while they were working close to the crematory oven, they found a heal of shoes there. Then for the very first time in their life, they came to know that their fellow prisoners were cremated there brutally. Their hope and care for each other are what make them survive the harsh and brutal reality and insanity there. After they were out of the liberation camps they went to Holland to fulfill their father’s dream to be there.
You can watch more about the lives in Nazi concentration camp here.
The story of the two sisters connected to souls can be elated to anyone. In this world where people are more likely to be separated from their siblings and hatred resides everywhere, this story is the story of connection, friendship, sistership, and love.