Eva Braun Levine
Born: July 6, 1916
Eva was the second daughter of five children born to Jewish parents. Her father dealt in real estate, and the family owned the apartment building in which they lived. The building had an elevator, a luxury for that time. Eva finished high school, and she began working for her father and studying history at a small local university.
1933-39: Nightlife for young people was lively in Lodz, and Eva often went dancing with her boyfriend, Herman. In 1939 they married. Then the Germans invaded. One day, the Gestapo banged at their door. They slapped Eva's father-in-law, demanding they hand over their valuable rugs. "The maid already took them," she protested. When they yelled back, Eva grabbed one man by the lapels: "Why don't you believe us? We're leaving! Here, see our suitcases?" They left.
1940-44: Herman and Eva were caught in the ghetto of Piotrkow Trybunalski after they arrived there in May 1941 looking for food. Eva's family was deported there as well. For three years she worked with her mother and sisters in the ghetto; in November 1944 all the women were deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. When they got off the train Nazis "examined" their crotches for hidden valuables. The work Eva did in the camp was so backbreaking that she lost tissue in her spine.
As the Allies advanced, the camp prisoners were evacuated to the Bergen-Belsen camp. There, Eva was liberated by the British in April 1945. She moved to the United States in 1950.