Henia Ring

Henia Ring

Born: March 3, 1924

Krzepice, Poland

The youngest of two children, Henia was born to a Jewish family in the town of Krzepice. By the early 1930s, the Jewish population of Krzepice comprised more than 40 percent of the town's inhabitants. Henia's father made his living trading cattle in the area. Henia attended a public elementary school.

1933-39: On September 1, 1939, the Germans invaded Poland; a day later, they entered Henia's town. Her family tried to escape to Warsaw but the German forces quickly overtook them and ordered them back to Krzepice. Several days later the Germans set up a ghetto in Krzepice. Henia and her family weren't allowed to leave the ghetto on penalty of death. Many people were shot for doing so, but rather than starve, Henia sometimes sneaked out to search for food.

1940-44: In 1941, hearing that the Germans were seizing people for work details, Henia escaped to a nearby village. But she missed her parents so she returned. Searching for them, she was arrested and eventually deported to the Mauthausen camp. While digging a ditch in a field Henia tried to escape into the woods. After two days, SS guards with dogs hunted her down. They beat her ruthlessly, breaking her nose. As she lay on the ground she heard the guards say, "Don't waste a bullet on her, she's dying." Later, Henia crawled back to the barracks.

Henia was then deported to the Bergen-Belsen camp. She was liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945. After recuperating in Sweden, she immigrated to the United States in 1947.

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