At 84 Inge Auerbacher is quick-witted, fast-talking and accomplished.
But when she was 7 years old she and 1,200 other German Jews were deported from Stuttgart, Germany, to Terezin, a Czech fortress that the Nazi regime repurposed as a holding ground for Jews before they were sent to death camps in Eastern Europe.
In that concentration camp Auerbacher was tattooed with the number 13-1-408. Before she was deported she and her family were forced to wear yellow Stars of David in their hometown of Kippenheim, Germany.
“The Star of David was supposed to make me a terrible person, degrade me,” she said.
Then and now, 77 years later, Auerbacher has refused to allow that label to define her. Instead she wears her Jewish heritage proudly.
When speaks tonight the Jackson Hole Jewish Community’s speaker for Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, Auerbacher will discuss her experiences in Terezin and her life after liberation. That story, which she hopes will help prevent future genocide, prejudice and antisemitism, traces an arc from Kristallnacht, the night in November 1938 on which Nazis attacked Jewish people and destroyed their property, to her liberation by the Russian army on May 8, 1945.
The speaker presentation begins at 5 p.m. today at St. John's Episcopal Church. Read more about her at JHNewsAndGuide.com.