Born: 1925 Pavlovice, Czechoslovakia (Now Czech Republic)
Survivor : Auschwitz and Theresienstadt Concentration Camps
“We were afraid every minute for our lives, and every day we had grass or even a sip of water, we were grateful. I guess we thought that was better than dying...I suppose it was,” says Frida Landau. She and her sister ate grass in an attempt to survive the ten-day train journey to Theresienstadt concentration camp.
By then it was 1945. They had managed to live through nine months of imprisonment in Block 16 at Auschwitz, where they had lost their parents along with their sister and her daughters. “It was during separation,” she recalls. “We walked left to the showers and they went to the right...they died never really knowing what was happening to any of us.“
Concentration camp guards routinely separated family groups according to age and fitness to work. Teenagers and young adults were spared, while parents and younger siblings were often sent to their deaths.
At Auschwitz they slept four to a bunk. Frida remembers praying a lot and talking to others. “The Polish inmates had been there for about a year and would tell us many details,” she says. “I could hear them but I just couldn't believe what they were saying. I knew but then I really didn't know anything.“
Frida calls the day they were liberated in Theresienstadt a birthday. “[May8,] 1945 was the birth of my freedom,” she exclaims. It was a day she wasn't sure she would ever experience.