Simone, Diana, and Arie in the Ghetto 1941Today is my mother's 90th birthday. She passed away last year, 5 days before her 89th. She was an incredible person, always positive and embracing life even though when she was 25 she spent six months in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.  She also was an identical twin who survived Dr. Josef Mengele.   Dr. Mengele was a German SS officer and physician at Auschwitz-Bireknau. He gained notoriety for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced laborer, and for performing human experiments on camp inmates, amongst whom Mengele was know as the Angel of Death. 

Dr. Mengele was always looking for twins on which to perform his horrific experiments. My mother (Simone) and her sister (Diana) would try to keep far apart so they wouldn't be recognized as twins. One day as Mengele was gathering subjects one of the prisoners came up to him and said, "Dr. Mengele, I have another set of twins for you." And pointed out my mother and sister as way of gaining favors from the Nazis. Simone and Diana were brought to the back of a parked army truck to be loaded in the back. The guards who brought them there left. Then all of a sudden the truck just drove away leaving Simone and Diana standing there. Needless to say they didn't stand there very long.

For the rest of her life my mother kept the book "Mengele" on her bookshelf. If she ever felt bad about anything, sorry for her self, or upset she would simply pull the book off the shelf, read a paragraph or two and then the present circumstances didn't seem so bad. 

Thanks Mom. You are an inspiration. Happy Birthday.

PICTURE: 1941 Lodz Ghetto, Poland, from Left to Right; Simone, Arie (currently Distinguished University Professor Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park) Diana

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