Photo on left: Noemi, age 13 (on left), with her younger sister Elizabeth, 4 years old. The photo was taken in 1935 in Kiskunhalas, Hungary.
Noemi writes: I lived in Kiskunhalas from 6 years old to 18 years old. My father was a teacher and principal in an elementary school. He was my 4th grade teacher. I have beautiful memories of these years. My mom and I were frequent visitors of the local library. Because I was 9 years old when my sister was born, I loved to be the "older" sister and good friend of my "little" sister.
Members of the Arrow Cross (Hungarian Nazis) came to our house. They told us to stand in our backyard. They told us that in a few days large posters would be glued onto the walls outside the houses. We had to read and obey them. On them were the “Jewish Laws.”
The first law told us to wear the yellow star. We had to wear it whenever we went outside. Where should we get those yellow stars? The Arrow Cross told us. We had to march to the store. Soldiers were all around us. We had to use our own money to buy yellow stars. We had to sew one onto each piece of clothing we had on.
Imagine how embarrassed we were when we had to go outside. People looked at us wherever we went. We knew in our hearts that something much more terrible would soon come.
- Noemi Ban, in her memoir, Sharing is Healing.*
A native of Szeged, Hungary, Noemi was 21 when the Nazis marched into Debrecen, Hungary on March 19, 1944. Ultimately her father was sent to a forced labor camp and she and her family (grandmother-Nina, mother-Juliska, sister-Elizabeth, and baby-brother-Gabor) were sent by train transport to Auschwitz-Birkenau. They arrived on July 1, 1944. Noemi was immediately separated from her family. Noemi's family became victims of the Nazi genocide.
Noemi spent nearly four months in Auschwitz before being picked by Dr. Joseph Mengele to be transferred to Munch Muhle, a sub-camp of Buchenwald. She spent the next six months in this camp working at a bomb factory.
Escaping during the forced march to Bergen Belsen in April of 1945, Noemi and eleven of her camp mates were found by a soldier from Patton's army who informed them of their freedom. Noemi was reunited with her father who also survived.
Noemi married in 1945 and became a teacher. She, her husband, and two sons came to the United States in 1957.
Noemi is currently an active member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s Speakers Bureau.
*Ban, Noemi. Sharing is Healing: A Holocaust Survivor's Story. 2nd Edition. With Ray Wolpow. Bellingham: Holocaust Educational Publications, 2006. Learn more about Noemi's book and purchase it here.