Erna de Vries | I wanted to see the sun again
You are here | Home | Curriculum Vitae| Post-War-Period in Cologne and Lathen

Curriculum Vitae

by Alexandra Hebbelmann

Though there were countless numbers of people being maligned, persecuted and deported under the National Socialist rule, Erna de Vries’ story is yet a special one: She is one of the few women who have witnessed the Death Block 25 in Auschwitz-Birkenau and survived. This touching story is what we would like to present at the next few pages.

interner Link Childhood and youth in Kaiserslautern
interner Link Night of Broken Glass
interner Link Apprenticeship in Cologne
interner Link Deportation and detention in Auschwitz-Birkenau
interner Link Detention in Ravensbrueck and liberation
interner Link Post-War-Period in Cologne and Lathen

Post-War-Period in Cologne and Lathen

October 1945 - present

In October 1945 for Erna Korn cycles to Schwerin to get an identity card. By coincidence she gets in contact with former camp prisoners. Together they cross the Soviet-British sector border to go to Cologne, where Erna stays at her relatives’. Here she meets Josef de Vries, whom she marries in 1947. Erna moves to Lathen, her husband’s home town in the northwest of Germany. Josef de Vries is Jewish as well and was imprisoned in the concentration camps Neuengamme, Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau during the war years. Talking about the time they have spent in camps helps them to get over their experiences.

At request of a historian from Kaiserslautern Erna de Vries has started to talk about her experiences in 1997. Talking particularly in schools, she emphasizes that she does not talk to the students for her own story but to warn them.
Today she is keeping to what her mother told her: “You are going to survive and report about what they have done to us.”

« back