Survivor Lily Ebert, 96, sees herself being liberated on film for first time

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Survivor Lily Ebert, 96, sees herself being liberated on film for first time

Auschwitz survivor was 'shocked and amazed' seeing the clip of her as a hopeful 20-year-old, looking happy to be starting a new life

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Lily Ebert pictured in the film reel taken in June 1945, and today.
Lily Ebert pictured in the film reel taken in June 1945, and today.

A 96-year-old Holocaust survivor this week praised “the power of modern technology” after seeing footage of her 20-year-old self being liberated from Buchenwald for the first time.

Lily Ebert was shown video reel filmed by US troops in June 1945 in the German camp. It shows her boarding a train to Switzerland – to freedom.

Her great-grandson, Dov Forman, 16, who found the clip through the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, said: “When we showed it to her she really couldn’t believe it was her – as she could not see her two sisters in the footage. During her time in the camps she was very protective over them and always kept them very close.

“After a few days of processing the find and watching the rest of the clip, we compared the dress she was wearing, and her face to other photos we have of her, around that time, and confirmed that it was her. We also think we can see her sister’s face for a second in the film.

Lily, second-right, in the video reel

“When she finally took it in that it was her she was happy, shocked and amazed that we have this footage of a happy time of her life.”

Forman says her dress in the clip was made by Lily and her sisters from fabric given to her after liberation. He said three identical dresses were made, which helped her family to identify her in the video.

Dov with his great-grandma Lily

After he watched it again with his great-grandmother, she smiled and said, “These were happy times. We were leaving, to start a new life”.

Lily, who stayed in Engelberg, Switzerland, for a year before moving to Israel, and then to London in 1967, also praised modern technology as “we would have never been able to find such footage without it.

“Even though Buchenwald was no longer an operating camp, the conditions were similar and being there didn’t feel nice and brought back bad memories. The only thing on my mind was that I wanted to get out of there at that time and that I must not miss that train.”

You can watch the clip – ‘Orphans of Buchenwald; Ex-Prisoners Coming Home’ – here

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