Scrapbookpages Blog

September 5, 2016

93 year old Holocaust survivor to receive honorary doctorate

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:55 am

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/our-city/north-leeds/chapel-allerton/special-award-for-leeds-auschwitz-survivor-1-8105684

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A Leeds pensioner who survived the horrors of the Holocaust and settled in England is to receive an honorary doctorate. Iby Knill, 93. of Chapel Allerton, grew up in Czechoslovakia and escaped to Hungary in 1942 as Nazi persecution of Jews accelerated.

93-year-old Iby Krill

93-year-old Holocaust survivor Iby Krill

As a young woman, she spent time in hiding and helping the local Resistance movement before she was eventually captured and taken to the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Mrs Knill will be given an honorary degree by the University of Huddersfield, where she spoke last year as part of the Holocaust Memorial lecture event. She spent much of her internment working as a slave labourer in an armaments factory, and was liberated by American troops while part of a forced march to Bergen-Belsen when the Nazi retreat began. She later discovered her father had died in the gas chambers, and was reunited with her mother and brother in their home city of Bratislava.

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This is not the first time that Iby Krill has been in the national news. I was reading about her many years ago, and I included her story on my scrapbookpages.com website.

The following quote is from my website:

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Iby’s story begins when she was a young girl growing up in her native Czechoslovakia. When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, she escaped over the border into Hungary but was arrested as an illegal immigrant.

“There were five of us, all girls and we made a pact to stay together as we walked through those gates and were greeted by the man we later learned was Dr Josef Mengele,” she says of her arrival at Birkenau. “From that day on it became a test of survival.” Miraculously, she adds, all five of them lived to witness the liberation from the Nazis in 1945.

By 2010, Iby had started writing her story and was seeking a publisher for her manuscript, which is chillingly brutal in its frankness, according to Virginia Mason’s news article.

According to Iby Knill, “The shower unit and the gas chamber looked the same. They had been built that way, so we never knew if we were to be gassed or just showered.”

In her lectures on the Holocaust, Iby describes the infamous Dr Mengele, whose experiments in the name of medical science earned him the nick name, Angel of Death. “We lined up and he would walk in front of us, picking out the weakest. Their fate was the gas chambers.”

She talks of the cramped, inhuman conditions at Birkenau, the incredible hunger and thirst, and worst of all, the scraps of gray, latherless soap made from human ashes, and the constant fear of extermination in the gas chamber.

According to her story, Iby was able to leave the Birkenau death camp only by volunteering to go to the Lippstadt labour camp, a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, where she worked in the hospital unit. On Easter Sunday, 1945, while on a death march to the main Buchenwald camp, she was freed by Allied Forces.

End quote from my website

The following quote is also from the news article, cited above:

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A fluent German speaker from childhood, she later used her language skills to act as an interpreter for British forces in post-war Germany. She met her husband, British army officer Bert Knill, and in 1947 she came to England as a married woman.

Mrs Knill, who is now a widow and has a Masters degree in theology, did not speak publicly about her past until 2003, and since then has told her story in books and during television appearances. She will take part in an awards ceremony at the university in November, where she will be joined by experts from the fields of engineering, medicine and finance.

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Why do so many Holocaust survivors live to an advanced age. My theory is that a meager diet contributes to living a long life. I am 83 and still going strong. When I was young, my family was very poor; we ate very little meat. Just like the concentration camp inmates, I had a meager diet of vegetables.