I met Irene Weisberg Zisblatt (above right) in Florida on book tour this spring for Lilac Girls, when I was lucky to have her introduce me at a JCC book event. I admired the little silver pin fixed to the neck of her dress. “It means ‘remember’ in Hebrew,” she said as she took it off and pinned it on me. Right then I knew she’d be a friend for life.
After the event, with not a trace of self pity, she told me about her time as a “guinea-pig” at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, living through terrible experiments performed by Josef Mengele to change the color of her eyes. Irene said she was going on the March of the Living at Auschwitz for Holocaust Remembrance Day and would be in Krakow, Poland in April on her way. She asked if I knew how she could meet one of the Ravensbruck Rabbits, the group of women from my novel who were also subjected to Nazi experiments, but at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women in Germany.
What a wonderful meeting that would be, I thought. Though Wanda Poltawska (above, left) is Catholic and Irene is Jewish they have so much in common. Both were very young when Nazi doctors operated on them. Both have suffered terrible adversity but have kept so positive. Both are authors.
I wanted share the photo of them meeting, to celebrate them and have included both their books below, great stories from inspiring women. I have included a few pictures of Irene at The March of the Living, too…