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Thessaloniki: Shocking testimony of a woman about the moments she lived in a Nazi camp


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“Life was horrible, people were constantly dying of typhus, of starvation, of very bad living conditions,” recounts the woman who, at the tender age of three, found herself in a Nazi camp with her family

The memories that sealed her mind and soul, at the tender age of three, when she was in the Bergen Belsen camp, she unfolded today, on the sidelines of her commemoration at the Jewish Holocaust Memorialn of Thessaloniki in Eleftheria Square, Rina Barzilai Revach, one of the hostages in the Nazi concentration camps.

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“I was in the camps at a very young age. My memories, which I have said, are poor, they are few from a child of three, four years old, but they are indelible” were her first words, before she began to describe the memory that she says she remembers more than anything she just did yesterday.

“I was in the camp, I was sick all the time and I was coughing and I was in the third bed because the beds were on top of each other and it had a little skylight up there. Opposite was a labor camp and I was fooling around all day. One day there came a big cart, very big, with high wooden sides, it was pulled by horses and two workers underneath were throwing naked corpses of workers into the cart, because they had to distinguish the living from the dead. When the cart was filled with corpses, an officer stepped up with a long big black well-polished boot and started jumping on the corpses so that others could sit and fit. I don’t know what I understood but I started to cry and the sick ladies who were there, because everyone else was leaving for work – forced labor -, were trying to find some sugar to give me, which wasn’t there,” he said. She noted, however, that there were not many children in the camp as she only remembers one other little girl who was a little older than her.

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Regarding the prevailing conditions he commented that the Bergen Belsen camp was not a camp with gas chambers but forced labor camp. “Life was horrible, people were constantly dying of typhoid, of starvation, of very bad living conditions and it had a crematorium for the bodies, but no gas chambers,” he added.

She noted that she was at the camp with her parents. “My parents survived. It was a very large family of which most were lost. Fortunately, my mother, father, grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side survived,” he said. The family’s adventure in the camp ended after two years, while those who remained returned to Thessaloniki in 1945.

For what he remembers from her childhood Mrs. Rina Barzilai Revach noted: “I was asked if I had toys. I didn’t even know what games were then. I never played with a doll. I didn’t even know what a doll meant. And when we came back I was playing with the mud.”

This is what Ms. Revach mentioned a little later laid the first wreath at the commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, as a representative of the surviving members of the Israeli Community of Thessaloniki.

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