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Edith Hofmann is a survivor of the Holocaust, born in Prague in 1927 as Edith Birkin. In 1941, along with her parents, she was deported to the Łódź Ghetto, where within a year both her parents had died. At 15 she was left to fend for herself.
The Łódź Ghetto was the second-largest ghetto to Warsaw, and was established for Jews and Gypsies in German-occupied Poland. Situated in the town of Łódź in Poland and originally intended as a temporary gathering point for Jews, the ghetto was transformed into a major industrial centre, providing much needed supplies for Nazi Germany and especially for the German Army.
Because of its remarkable productivity, the ghetto managed to survive until August 1944, when the remaining population, including Edith, was transported to Auschwitz and Chełmno extermination camp in cattle trucks. It was the last ghetto in Poland to be liquidated due to the advancing Russian army. Edith was only 17, and one of the lucky ones. For the majority, it was their final journey. A small group of them were selected for work. With her hair shaved off and deprived of all her possessions, she travelled to Kristianstadt, a labour camp in Silesia, to work in an underground munitions factory.
In January 1945, aged 18 and with the Russians approaching again, she was sent off on a death march across snow-covered Germany to Bavaria. There cattle trucks were waiting. After spending a week in crowded conditions without food or water she and her companions arrived in Bergen Belsen on 15th March 1945. A month later they were liberated.
In 1946, after the liberation and destruction of the death camps, she came to England to study, eventually becoming a teacher in London.
Edith has written 2 books about her experiences, Unshed Tears, a novel and The Last Goodbye, a book of poems and pictures.
Edith now lives with her husband in Hereford. She has three children and six grandchildren.