Ella Ostroff was born in Sátoraljaújhely, Hungary on June 4, 1932 to Henry and Helen Weiss. She had three older sisters (Magda, Lily, and Olga) and one brother. Ella lost both her parents and her brother in the Holocaust; her father was deported early on to a labor camp where he died, and her mother and brother were sent to the gas chambers immediately after entering Auschwitz.
Tap on the grey bars and listen Ella describe the last time she saw her mother and brother.
When we arrived to Auschwitz; “Arbeit Macht Frei” is the big slogan on the entry way to Auschwitz. The train stopped and they opened the doors to the cattle cars and there was a band playing music. There were a lot of men with striped uniforms and some German military men. All we heard was “geh raus, geh raus, geh raus.” We got out and some of these men wearing the uniforms were walking by us and said, “Nobody is sick. Nobody is younger than 16 and nobody is older than 21, which was ridiculous.” We were coming out, the commotion was phenomenal, screaming, “Leave everything behind. You have your names on it, it will find you. We’ll make sure that your luggage (or whatever we had) will be transported to the place wherever you will be.” Anyway, we got out and we were walking.
My two sisters, myself, my mother and my younger brother, we started walking together. I was holding on to my mother’s hand, and I wanted to go with her so much because I saw ahead of me that we were being separated. We were getting to the front. My mother said, “No, you go with your sisters. Your brother needs me more.” I said, “I got to go with you.” She said, “No.” She really gave me life twice, because we never saw her again, or my brother. And here I am. Excuse me [crying]. Anyway, my sister and I went to the left. They always say whoever went to the right lived and whoever went to the left died. But it was my left I went to, not the right, or to the right of Mengele, where he was pointing. But I always say I went to the left and my mother went to the right.
Read and listen to Ella’s full interview here.