Airless train cars

Holocaust survivor brings message of attitude to students

OSHAWA — Eleven years ago, questions from her young grandson prompted Eva Olsson to start talking about surviving the Holocaust.


Born to a Hasidic Jewish family in Hungary, Ms. Olsson was 19 years old in May 1944 when the Nazis began loading rail cars with people from her town, ostensibly sending them to work in German factories. With 100 people to a car and just one bucket of water, many died along the way from dehydration and lack of oxygen.


Stripped of everything she owned, Ms. Olsson’s head was shaved and she was put to work as a labourer. She was later moved to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where tens of thousands of prisoners died from disease, dehydration and starvation.

In 1945, Ms. Olsson said the order had gone out that all prisoners were to be shot on April 15 at 3 p.m.

“We were liberated April 15 at 11 o’clock in the morning. Yes, I call myself a small miracle from the ashes.”


This fall, accompanied by a documentary filmmaker, Ms. Olsson re-traced her journey during the Holocaust, including visiting the gas chambers in Auschwitz where her mother and nieces died.

“Needless to say, it was devastating. But now I never have to go back there again.”

Source: Reka Szekely
Fri Nov 02, 2007

Webmaster note: It must be great to be able to be an “eyewitness” to things you never saw. Thank goodness she survived the oxygen deprivation that comes from being transported in a drafty boxcar!