INTERNATIONAL.- Gena Turgel, a Holocaust survivor who comforted Anne Frank at the BergenBelsen concentration camp before the young diarist’s death and the camp’s liberation a month later, has died. She was 95. Turgel died Thursday, Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, said on Twitter.
The news triggered tributes from some of the people the Polish native touched in the decades she shared her World War II experiences, including witnessing the horrors of the Nazi camps at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.
After World War II, Turgel married one of Bergen-Belsen’s British liberators, Norman Turgel, earning the nickname “The Bride of Belsen.” Her wedding dress, made from parachute silk, is part of the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.
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Turgel attended Britain’s annual Holocaust remembrance event two months ago, sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket draped over her knees. “My story is the story of one survivor, but it is also the story of 6 million who perished,” she said at the event in London’s Hyde Park.
“Maybe that’s why I was spared — so my testimony would serve as a memorial like that candle that I light, for the men, women and children who have no voice.”
Born in Krakow, Poland as Gena Goldfinger on Feb. 1, 1923, Turgel and her family were forced to move into a Jewish ghetto with only a sack of potatoes, some flour and a few belongings in late 1941.