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Ruth Neray

Ruth Neray describes the daily routine at Auschwitz, and how she was affected by malnutrition.

Ruth Bindefeld Neray was born in 1923 and grew up in Paris. Her father was often away on business trips selling movies but her mother was a caring housewife and looked after the three kids. Ruth was the youngest and had an older brother, Frederick, and an older sister, Suzy.  She fondly remembers celebrating Sabbath every Friday, and how nice it was to go to the Synagogue on Saturdays.   

Life changed when Ruth was 15. The war broke out and the Germans began occupying France.  She began encountering Antisemitism and found it difficult to understand as her religion was never a problem before. In 1942 all of France was occupied, even what used to be the free zone, and mass arrests of Jewish people began. According to her memory it was the French government that had suggested even the deportation of Jewish children to the Germans.  

As the German occupation spread, the family decided to separate to avoid being caught all together. Ruth stayed at a youth hostel with her sister and managed to go to school despite the constant worry of being discovered. Ruth ended up being arrested and was forced on a train to Auschwitz.  

Ruth remembers the cramped conditions of the train. Everything was black for three days and light was only coming through a tiny hole. When they got off the train, a Nazi officer stopped her from marching with the rest of the people towards what appeared to be a factory. She was envious of the people that she thought would get to survive while working in that factory. Ruth soon realized that the factory was a gas chamber, and she was among the 17 of the youngest girls picked for work from the 12 000 people that were marched to their deaths.  

In an attempt to sabotage, she cut out good pieces of material to weaken braids until the captain caught her and threatened her with death. The concentration camp was liberated in 1945. Ruth was able to find her parents and sister alive. Reuniting with her family was her true liberation. 

Feeling heavily betrayed by France, she migrated to Canada in 1954 and stayed in Montreal for 30 years with her husband and their two children. To Ruth, her children meant that life had conquered over death.  

Ruth passed away on January 8th of 2011. 

Ruth Neray

Once I gave myself permission to die, I was not a toy in the hands of Germans.