The Holocaust survivor, Lily Ebert, has been awarded Hungary’s Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit in a special ceremony conducted by the Hungarian ambassador, Ferenc Kumin.
Mrs Ebert’s great-grandson, Dov Forman, who has been instrumental in telling his great-grandmother’s story, told the audience that she had grown up in Bonyahd, “a small suburban Hungarian village where her Jewish Orthodox, established family had lived for over 200 years”.
Jews from Hungary were among the last communities in Europe to be deported to the death camps by the Nazis. For Lily Ebert and he family, that time came on July 5, 1944, when she was sent to Auschwitz Birkenau.
Dov Forman told the audience, who included the Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock: “My great grandma, her mother, three sisters and youngest brother arrived at Auschwitz on July 9. Lily’s mother, youngest sister and brother were sent straight to the gas chambers; they were gassed and cremated. She never saw them again”.
Today, said Forman, he and his great-grandmother had forged a remarkable bond in helping to educate others about her “incredibly harrowing Holocaust testimony”, adding: “I still find it hard to comprehend all that she went through, and the courage and determination that she has shown throughout her life”.
Lily Ebert, now 98, said: “When I was in the hell of Auschwitz I promised myself, if I survived against all the odds, I would do all I could to share my story, for myself and for those that did not survive. And I do. I am a witness.
“I speak to students because I want them to know what happened. But I know that there will come a time when I can’t do this any more. I am so happy that in the last few years I have been able to share my story alongside you all.
“You will continue to share my family’s story when I am no longer able to. The world should not forget the most terrible crime against humanity”.
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