A WOMAN who survived the notorious Auschwitz death camp has died.
Mrs Ibi Ginsburg, of Elland, was taken to Auschwitz as a teenage girl by the Nazis but amazingly survived.
And over the years, she and her husband Val spent much of their time educating thousands of youngsters about the horrors of the war and of the Holocaust.
Mrs Ginsburg, of Elland, died on February 19 at the age of 85.
She was just 19 when she was dragged away from her home and interned at Auschwitz.
Somehow, she and her sister Judith, 13, survived, as did their father Herman.
But her mother and two young sisters died in the gas chambers.
Ibi and her family who lived in the Hungarian town of Tokay were imprisoned in a ghetto for about four weeks and then at the end of May, 1944 were loaded into cattle wagons and transported to Auschwitz.
Over the years, she talked of what happened: “We thought they were taking us to Germany. Even though it had been built two years earlier, we had never heard of Auschwitz.
“My 13-year-old sister and I were separated from my mother and two younger sisters who were 10 and seven-years-old.
“We never saw them again.
“Next my sister and I were taken into a chamber where all the hair was shaved from our heads and bodies. We were made to shower and were then given garments to put on and after that they gave us our numbers.
“My number was 86711. I will never forget it. I was only 19 and too scared to ask questions.
“Then one day I did and realised that the chimney I could see smoking all the time was a crematorium.
“It was the place where the loved ones we had left behind had ended up.
“These memories have never gone away. They are always with me in my heart.”
It was in another infamous camp Dachau that Ibi would meet the man who would later become her husband. Val Ginsburg had grown up in Lithuania but was sent to a ghetto.
The couple married in 1946 and moved to Munich, before heading for Britain two years later.
They settled in West Yorkshire and both worked at James Thornton’s textile mill in Elland.
Both worked there until they retired 20 or so years ago.
For many years Ibi and Val never talked about their experiences, not even to their family, but then decided 15 years ago that they owed it to the victims to tell their stories.
Val told his in a book, And Kovno Wept, published by the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Newark in 1998.
The couple have told their story countless times in schools and colleges, at meetings and conferences, to bring home the message that the past must not be forgotten.
Mrs Ginsburg said: “Unfortunately there is still hatred in the world, still mass murder, still genocide. Look at Darfur and Sudan. The world has not learned its lesson.”
Four years ago the couple were presented to the Queen on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and their testimonies have also been videotaped by the Steven Spielberg Shoa Foundation set up in 1994.