Edith, soft-spoken, always elegant, who walked into the gas chambers with her mother and then turned around and walked out in brazen defiance. Anci, betrayed by an acquaintance in Hungary, was imprisoned and shipped to Auschwitz with her eldest sister and niece, never to see them again. Hedy sometimes must bustle about with a small oxygen tank, but it doesn’t stop her. Torn from her family, she managed to survive in hell. Eva goes in for dialysis three times a week, but, when she is out, she loves nothing more than to go joyriding in her car. The Nazis could not crush her joie de vivre.
The doyenne of the group is Olga, who turned 94 in March. She is fierce, determined, and implacable. Her endless sumptuous creations, and particularly the patisseries and tortes, are evidence of her ongoing resistance to the haunting memories of death— the favored little brother shot in front of her eyes; her beautiful sister, only a year younger, who refused to leave her mother’s side and marched into the gas chamber; her father debased and humiliated. But she would not be bowed. Again and again in the camps she fought, at great personal risk, to better the lives of her fellow inmates in whatever small ways she could.
It began in March 1944, when Olga and the small community of about 1000 Jews of Sarospatak were herded into a ghetto then onto the staging ground at Satoraljaujhely, Hungary. From there, it was in the cattle cars to Auschwitz to face Mengele and darkness. In the bitter winter of 1945, the Russians liberated the camp. Olga weighed next to nothing and was deathly ill with typhus. Sick and exhausted, she made her way home.