Oral History

Lilly Appelbaum Malnik describes the process of registration in Auschwitz

Germany invaded Belgium in May 1940. After the Germans seized her mother, sister, and brother, Lilly went into hiding. With the help of friends and family, Lilly hid her Jewish identity for two years. But, in 1944, Lilly was denounced by some Belgians and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau via the Mechelen camp. After a death march from Auschwitz, Lilly was liberated at Bergen-Belsen by British forces.


And they said, "From now on you do not answer by your name. Your name is your number." And the delusion, the disappointment, the discouragement that I felt, I felt like I was not a human person anymore. They had shaved our heads, and I felt so ashamed. And also when they told us to undress and to shower, they made us feel like, like we were animals. The men were walking around and laughing and looking at us, and you take a young girl at that age who has never been exposed to a, a person, to a man, and you stay there naked, I wanted the ground should open and I should go in it.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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