|L to R, bottom row: Mania Kichell’s daughter, Ruth Langroth and Holocaust survivor Mania Kichell. Top row: two of Mania’s granddaughters, Simone Vogel and Stacey Langroth; and daughter Anna Zvi.|
Since as long as she can remember, Hollis Hills, Queens resident and mother of two Anna Zvi has known that she was the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Although her mother, Mania Kichell, now 90 years old, rarely spoke of these traumatic years of her life, Anna still knew a bit about what she endured during WWII.
Hearing about what her mother went through was heart-breaking.
Anna knew about the brutality her mother had suffered when the Nazis lined up her family and divided them for transport to different camps in 1944. “When they were saying ‘Left’ and ‘Right,’ my mother’s mother, one of her sisters, and her sister’s child were sent to one side and she to the other side,” Anna said. “My mom later learned they were sent to a death camp. But at the time, she tried to run after themand was severely beaten.”
The rest of the story involves how the Red Cross was able to help retrieve public documents about her mother.
About three years ago, triggered by her mother’s age and further deteriorating mental condition, Anna began a search to discover as many of the lost pieces of Mania’s story as possible. She started by contacting Yad Vashem and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which sent Anna documents pertaining to Mania’s time in Auschwitz. Additionally, the Holocaust Memorial Museum recommended that Anna contact the Red Cross. She contacted the Greater New York chapter, and within two months of initiating a case, Anna began to receive the first documents from them—public records obtained by the Polish Red Cross confirming her mother’s residence in the Lodz Ghetto and liberation from Bergen-Belsen.
Read the whole story here.