Support, love and engage
PLEASE NOTE: Event is sold out, but please email Shoshana Copeland to be put on the waiting list, if we have a cancellation.
Join us for a one-off opportunity to hear Holocaust Survivor Gena Turgel tell her story.
Drinks & Canapes: 19:00
Gena's story begins: 20:00 prompt - 21:00
Please note there will be an appeal.
Book early as all our previous Holocaust Survivor events have been fully booked out in advance. It is a real honour to hear Gena speak.
GENA was born in 1923 in Krakow, Poland, the youngest of nine children. She was only 16 when the Nazis bombed her home town on 1 September 1939. The bombing lasted for two days. Gena's family had relatives in Chicago and they planned to leave for the United States but their decision was too late, as the Germans had already closed all exit and entry points. Instead, Gena's family moved to Borek, a town 18 miles from Krakow.
In Autumn 1941, Gena had to move to the ghetto in Krakow, carrying only a sack of potatoes, some flour and few other belongings. There she stayed with her mother and four siblings. In May 1940, Gena witnessed her brother shot dead by the Nazis. Her second brother, Janek, fled from the ghetto and was never seen again. (His clothes were discovered in a concentration camp).
On 1 March 1942, Gena and her family were sent to the Plaszov concentration camp, located six miles away. Gena discovered that her sister, Miriam, and her husband, who she had married in the ghetto, had been shot in 1941 after the Nazis caught her trying to bring food into the camp. In December 1944, the camp was liquidated and Gena and her family had to walk to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In January 1945, as the Allies were advancing, Gena and her mother were forced on a Death March and had to leave behind Hela, Gena's sister. They never saw her again. After several days they arrived in Leslau in Germany where they were forced onto trucks. They travelled under terrible conditions for the next three to four weeks, eventually arriving in Buchenwald. From there they were sent on cattle trucks to Bergen-Belsen, where they arrived in February 1945. Gena worked there in a hospital for several months and tried to support her mother as best she could.
On 15 April 1945, the British army liberated Bergen-Belsen. Among the liberators was Norman Turgel, who would become Gena's husband just half a year later. Today Gena lives in England and has children and grandchildren. Gena has written her testimony in I Light a Candle.