Other memories of Terezin stand out clearly in Inge’s mind, such as the visit of the International Red Cross. She recalls how parts of the camp were renovated, some prisoners were given extra clothes and food, an orchestra set up, a propaganda film produced. The Red Cross fell for the deception, and did nothing for the prisoners. The hunger, disease and transports continued on, the final transports happening in the fall of 1944. By sheer luck, Inge and both of her parents were spared from the transports.
In the spring of 1945, as the Allies closed in, the Nazis made their last attempts to kill the survivors of their death camps. At Terezin, the Nazis began to construct gas chambers, which were almost completed when the guards suddenly fled as the Allies advanced. Soon after the guards left, Terezin was liberated by the Soviet army on May 8, 1945. Still most prisoners could not leave because there was a typhus epidemic and they had to remain in quarantine. Tragically, many prisoners died from typhus following liberation.
In July 1945, a bus arrived to bring the survivors from the state of Wurttemberg back to Stuttgart, and Inge and her parents boarded the bus. Inge and her parents had come to Terezin on a transport of approximately 1,000 people. By the war’s end there were only thirteen survivors from that transport, including Inge and her parents. The war was over, but Inge’s family had terrible losses they would have to face.
Books by Inge Auerbacher
I Am a Star: Child of the Holocaust
Beyond the Yellow Star to America