Date of Birth: 1929
Hella Wartski and her family were arrested by the Hungarian and German soldiers in April of 1944 in her hometown of Uzshorod, Hungary. They were then sent on a terrifying transport to Auschwitz. She describes the dehumanizing process of “being forced into dark boxcars that were locked and overcrowded, without food, without water, and without toilet facilities.”
When arriving at Auschwitz, Hella and her two sisters were separated from their parents. If it weren’t for her sisters holding onto her, she would have joined her parents in the group that was sent to the gas chambers. “We didn’t even have a chance to say something to our parents or to call out to them. That was the last time we saw our parents and the rest of our family.”
A few months later, Hella and her two sisters were transported to a Czechoslovakian labor camp, Freudenthal. In April of 1945, Freudenthal was liberated by the Russian army. Hella was overwhelmed with joy, “We were free and had the right to be human again; it is difficult to describe how it feels to regain human dignity.”
In May of 1947, Hella boarded a U.S. Marine ship to America. She married Heinz Wartski, a fellow Holocaust survivor, and had two children. Hella currently resides in Naples, Florida and volunteers with the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida to share her story.
Hella Wartski discusses her Auschwitz tattoo