With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

The first transport of Jews to Auschwitz was 997 teenage girls. Few survived.

As world leaders gather in Poland Monday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi-run Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, Edith Friedman Grosman will be far away in Toronto. On Monday, the energetic 95-year-old, who was on the first official transport of Jews to Auschwitz, plans to live-stream the ceremony from home, but only if she feels up to it.

She’s already returned to Auschwitz four times, and that’s enough.

“I’m glad they’re doing something for Auschwitz 75,” she told The Washington Post. “But they have to do something in 100 years and 125 years, too.”

Friedman Grosman grew up in the village of Hummené, Slovakia, with her parents and older sister, Lea.

Slovakia joined the Axis powers in 1940. Soon, Edith was forced to leave the public high school, and her dad had to sell his glass-cutting business to a Christian, whom he then worked for.

Even amid the Jewish crackdown, it was still a surprise when the town crier announced a new order — all unmarried women 15 and older were to report to the school gymnasium in two weeks.

Read entire article at Retropolis