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Friday, 13 December 2013

The Angel of Auschwitz

Gisella Perl was born into a Jewish family in Hungary in 1907. At 16 years old, Gisella Perl graduated first in her secondary-school class, the only woman and the only Jew. She asked her father to send her to medical school, but he refused at first, saying "I do not want my daughter to lose her faith and break away from Judaism.'' Several months later, she approached him again, this time with a prayer book he had given her, and said, ''I swear on this book that wherever life will take me, under whatever circumstances, I shall always remain a good, true Jew.'' Maurice Perl now changed his mind and she was able to enroll in medical school.

She married a surgeon and was working as a gynecologist in Máramarossziget when the German Army invaded the country in 1944. Gisella and the rest of her family, were deported to extermination camps. Anne S. Reamey has pointed out: "As with many Jews across Hungary, Dr. Perl and her family were forced into a ghetto before being transported to Auschwitz in March 1944. After eight excruciating days packed tightly into cattle cars with almost no food or water, Dr. Perl's transport arrived at the gates of Auschwitz. As they entered into what, for many, would be their final resting place, families were separated into two lines: those going to the right were subjected to forced labor (about 3,000 people) while those going to the left were exterminated immediately in the gas chambers (7,000-9,000 people)."

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