Auschwitz Ran Out Of Gas So Klara Markus And Others Survived
Klara Markus, who survived three Holocaust concentration camps before WW2 was over, will celebrate her one hundred and first birthday on New Years Eve 2014.
Mrs Markus, a Jew from Sighetu Marmatiei, in Maramures in northern Romania, had already been imprisoned in Dachau and Ravensbruck before being sent to Auschwitz.
She survived the Nazi German camp in occupied Poland because the Nazis ran out of gas.
Maybe Look For Them In The Ashes
In August 1942, she was deported to a Jewish ghetto in Budapest, Hungary and worked there in an umbrella factory.
"My mother and older sisters were taken directly to Auschwitz and I never saw them again".
The mother-of-two remained in Budapest for another two years, before the Nazis ordered the remaining Jews in the city to march toward the concentration camps.
After a month-long march, Mrs Markus arrived at Dachau on October 20, 1944, and one week later she was sent to the notorious women’s camp in Ravensbruck, before being transported to Auschwitz.
"I passed through all the camps on the German territory. The conditions were the same all over the places".
"I was falling asleep with tears in my eyes, missing my mother, my sisters".
"When I asked about them, SS members replied shortly":
"Maybe, you should search for them in the smoke or ashes!".
"and they laughed".
"I got accustomed to the hunger, but not with the pain in my soul".
"Everyday we were humiliated, and tortured, I was surrounded by death and lot of dirt, especially the one from our perpetrators’ souls".
The Gas Chambers
Shortly before the evacuation and the subsequent liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945, Mrs Markus, then thirty years old and weighing around 70lbs (32kg), was sent to the gas chambers.
" I was chosen towards the end of the day with a large group of other women and we were made ready for the gas chamber".
"But when they put us inside and went to turn the gas on, they found they had run out".
"One of the guards joked that it was our lucky day because they had already killed so many they didn’t have any gas left for us".
"God was watching over me that day".
Escape From Auschwitz
Mrs Markus says that her narrow escape caused her to realize that she had nothing to lose, she decided she would try to escape and she succeeded.
She returned to Romania to discover that her entire family had been killed during the war, and she started to rebuild her life which is when she met her husband, Dr Andrei Markus.
An Unexpected Guest
In celebration of her upcoming birthday, Anton Rohian, who is a Romanian county prefect arrived at her home.
"I brought you a bunch of flowers, a bottle of champagne and an excellency diploma to thank you because you’ve returned to Maramures after all you’ve been through".
"It’s important not to forget what happened in the past".
Kissing the Romanian flag, Mrs Markus said,
"I’ve had terrible experiences in my life, but this is a wonderful moment".