Five Sydney women, who were little children in April 1945, were traveling on a train en route from Bergen-Belsen to Thereseinstadt when it was abandoned by the Germans and discovered by the advancing U.S. forces.
Around the table l-r: Ilonka Blair, Judith Handley, Eva Reed, Lexie Keston. Ana Deleon and Lea Farkas Photo: Gaby Deleon
The five recently were joined by a sixth survivor to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their rescue by the U.S. troops.
It was the first time the five passengers in the abandoned train had sat down together.
Six years ago J-Wire told the story of the rescue when some of those liberated as children met their liberators for the first time.
You can read it here… http://www.jwire.com.au/a-school-holocaust-project-re-unites-liberated-with-liberators/
Judith Handley, Eva Reed, Lexie Keston, Ana Deleon, Lea Farkas were joined by Ilonka Blair who survived Bergen-Belsen. All are members of the Sydney Child Survivors Group.
The lunch, hosted by Ana Deleon, gave the women an opportunity to exchange memories of that April day in 1945 when German troops mysteriously disappeared having abandoned the train abandoning their prisoned in Magdeburg, Germany…only to be replaced by the advancing Americans troops who were to liberate them.
Lexie Keston told J-Wire: “Our Liberation was on 13 April 1945. We were liberated by the 9th US Army Tank brigade, at Farsleben which is 16 km from Magdeburg in Germany. Apart from Ilonka Blair who was liberated at the Bergen-Belsen Camp we were all on a train from Bergen-Belsen and had been travelling since the 7th April. Ana Deleon organised our re-union lunch to celebrate 70 years since our Liberation. Amongst our little group, we had girls from Hungary, the former Yugoslavia and Poland.”
Judith Handley and Lea Farkas were new to the group having been “discovered” living in Sydney by Ana Deleon. They have joined the Sydney Child Survivors group.
76-yr-old Lexie, the “baby” of the group, added: “We had all gone our separate ways after the rescue as we had come from different backgrounds. Somehow fate has brought us all together.”
Frank Towers is the last surviving veteran of the 30th Division that had any hands-on experience with this event. He told J-Wire: “I have been in contact with Lexie and Ana.”