Holocaust Survivor Learns Her Real Name More than 70 Years After WWII

Who can forget about the Holocaust?

The murder of millions of innocent people, the evil desire to rule over the world, and the insane intention to annihilate the Jewish people from the face of the Earth.

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But just imagine what Hitler’s army had also done to the millions of defenseless babies and children during the war. Those who did not make it to the Terezin Family Camp were not spared from the horrors that adult prisoners had been subjected to.

This Old Woman Who Survived the Holocaust Did Not Even Know Her Real Name

Mary Wygodski, that’s the name she has grown familiar with decades after the war and upon her getting married.

She could not recall her real name since her parents often called her by her nickname, Mercia.

She had two little sisters and a brother. They had a wonderful family.

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But terrible nightmares befell them all when, in 1943, Mary was forcibly taken from her parents and her siblings. She along with other people was transported to Kaiserwald concentration camp.

“The first camp when I was separated from my family, I really felt I could not continue living without them,” related Mary, who tried to commit suicide by drowning.

She experienced being moved to two more concentration camps, Stutthof and Magdeburg.

Finally, they were freed by the Allied Forces.

But some of other children and young people had died from starvation, cruel labor, punishment, and experimentation by SS doctors long before the liberation. Mary was lucky to be one of those who made it out.

How Mary Found Her Real Identity and Sense of Peace

She was a teenager who had managed to survive. But the memory of her murdered family haunted Mary throughout her life.

Upon learning about Mary’s past in preparation for an interview for the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony program, Ursula Szczepinska, Director of Education and Research at the Florida Holocaust Museum, became determined to help her, just as she has been assisting many other survivors to locate their families and record their stories for future generations.

“Mary’s story shows how historical events impact individual human beings and how much loss and trauma there is when we turn against each other,” said Szczepinska.

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Szczepinska found Mary’s real name in a Lithuanian archive, including her original birth certificate. Mary was originally called Mera Tabachowicz, named by her parents after her grandmother.

Mary thought it was a miracle that her real birth name was discovered. “This is something which I hope will help many people learn the truth… it was so horrible that it is easy to believe it never happened.”

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