By Andrew Hasbun
PHOENIX (KSAZ) – It was an unimaginable horror, millions of people killed during the Holocaust. Some lived including a woman who now lives in Phoenix, who survived the Nazi’s most notorious death camp, Auschwitz.
Magda Willinger remembers all of what happened at the camp.
You can’t forget, you can’t forget those things, it’s so traumatic,” said Magda Willinger.
Like countless victims she suffered unimaginable loss, she survived the death camps and now spreads a message of tolerance by re-telling her story.
“It’s emotional every time I do it,” said Willinger.
Magda grew up in a small town in what was then Czechoslovakia, her mother and father owned a grocery store and her family of five lived a comfortable life.
But it all changed in 1939 when her country was invaded by Hungary with the help of Hitler. The family business was taken away, and her father was forced to work for the Nazis.
“Gradually things got worse. We were no longer allowed to go to public schools. In 1942 were ordered to wear a yellow star on our clothing blatantly recognizing us as Jews,” she said.
With little money, her family had to get creative to survive. She would go to a town where she knew there was a soap maker, and she would buy some soap, and she would bring it back and sell it at a profit. It was really black marketing, but that was the only way she could feed her family.