Margot Heumann

Margot Heumann

Born: February 17, 1928

Hellenthal, Germany

The older of two girls, Margot was born to Jewish parents living in a village close to the Belgian border. The Heumanns lived above their general store. Across the street lived Margot's grandfather, who kept horses and cows in his large barn. When Margot was 4, her family moved to the city of Lippstadt. As a young girl, she learned to swim in the Lippe River, which flowed behind their garden.

1933-39: When Margot was 9, her family moved to the nearby city of Bielefeld, where she was enrolled in public school. A year later, Margot and her little sister, Lore, were expelled from school. All of a sudden, they were kicked out of class, and not understanding why, they just stood outside crying. Then they walked home. After this, their parents sent them to a Jewish school where they had teachers, who, like them, had been kicked out of the schools by the Nazis.

1940-44: Margot was 14 when her family was deported, and 16 when they ended up in Auschwitz. One day, she was ordered onto a convoy and knew that she wouldn't come back. Her mother had the option to go with her or stay with her sister, who was too young to go, and since she felt that her sister needed her mother more than her, she stayed. Margot remembers hugging her mother goodbye. She used to be a heavy woman, but by then she was all skin and bones. Not knowing any better, Margot ate her mother's soup, her only food for the day, which her mother insisted that she take.

Margot never saw her parents and sister again. She was liberated at Bergen-Belsen in April, 1945. The Red Cross brought her to Sweden to recuperate, and in 1947 she moved to America.